July 13th, 2009
01:22 PM ET

Sotomayor's judgment day

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/13/sotomayor.hearing/art.sotomayer.01.cnn.jpg caption="Judge Sonia Sotomayor listens to opening statements Monday at her confirmation hearing."]

Sherrilyn A. Ifill
The Root

As confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor begin before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, it’s probably best to keep some perspective on the significance of the proceedings.

Unless there’s a violent crime in her past, Judge Sotomayor will be confirmed as an associate justice of the Supreme Court. Given Al Franken’s recent seating as the 60th Democratic vote in the Senate, it’s a numerical certainty that a nominee approved by Democrats will be confirmed. This reality will not stop Republicans from doing their best to drag Judge Sotomayor’s name through the mud and to paint her as a dangerous, racially driven, judicial activist.

In fact, Republicans have been “workshopping” their Sotomayor strategy over the past two weeks, staging mini-rehearsals in an attempt to figure out which tactic will most excite their base, not alienate Latino voters and refocus the seriously adrift Republican Party. Parts have been handed out to key players on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is to bring the intellectual challenge. He’s been practicing with a cleverly conceived “Daily Question for Judge Sotomayor” on his Web site. Many of the questions posed are surprisingly substantive, and the explanatory text that accompanies each question is a good way to get his constituents and sympathetic journalists up to speed on the dynamics of Republican resistance to Judge Sotomayor’s nomination.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Sonia Sotomayor
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. CQuintana

    I believe that character matters in both professional and personal endeavors;

    There is something not right with her so I would vote NO!

    As a Latino man I would not have her as my judge, teacher, mother-in-law or wife. I’m not even sure I would hire her as my lawyer!

    July 13, 2009 at 11:43 pm |
  2. Joyce Link

    I retired from nursing 10 years ago. It's been a while since I saw a room full of old men and women slobbering all over themselves.
    I found the hearing to be nostalgic. Thanks for the memory.

    July 13, 2009 at 11:16 pm |
  3. Annie Kate

    In a confirmation hearing there is enough time and opportunity for all parties to show their less than positive sides. Our Congress, despite what party they are affiliated with, will focus on the lowest common denominator and proceed to make fools of themselves – seems to be the only thing they do well.

    You cannot base confirmation on a judge on the basis of one court case – the whole body of her cases must be looked at and the common themes discovered. There is always a case that will be an exception to the rule because we have such variety in this country.

    July 13, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  4. Michael Schumann

    I watched the hearing for a bit and I thought that Sessions and some of the other Republicans made royal fools of themselves.

    I have to wonder if Sessions has forgotten the long and dirty history of crooked Judges and skewed "justice" that has prevailed and still occurs far too often in the South. Many of the men they celebrate as great legalistic mind were intolerant bigots of the most extreme type.

    As Alabama was still at it in the 1960's and '70s, he can hardly claim a lifetime of experience with "fair" and/or "impartial" judges.

    Clearly, they have decided to go gunning for Sotomayor and could care less about her extensive experience or judicial acumen.

    July 13, 2009 at 9:50 pm |
  5. Lampe

    Is this the first time any of you ever paid attention to Confirmation Hearings? Both sides do the samething whenever anyone is picked to become a SCJ. Stop acting like The Republicans are the only ones doing this. The Democrats have had their fair share of running Republican picks into the ground. Turn-about is fair play. Maybe if you paid more attention to all things, instead of just the negative things about Republicans you would have a better understanding of how all of them play these types of games.

    July 13, 2009 at 9:36 pm |
  6. michael Best

    On May 13 2009 Hon Judge Sonia Sotomayor made the final

    vote to denie me a right to counsel, on july 2nd 2009, i entered the motion for reconsideration, which is now being view by Hon. Sotomayor, and i believe she should answer the motion before the outcome of her hearing,
    I believe that her judgement in my case, will really show how she uses the Law, in her decision making.

    July 13, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  7. michael Best

    Hon. Sonia Sotomayor, made a decision in my civil court case, where she was the third deciding signature on a five judge Panel, she voted to dismiss my Civil case where i requested counsel do to my mental
    statice, and she went against the Law in her decision, after ordering my records, to be viewed , and after she voted against my 6th amendment right to counsel, which is now being reconsidered in a motion back to her office, i believe America can learn something about Sotomayor at the outcome of my case, which she is reconsidering as we speak.

    July 13, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  8. RLWellman

    Why is it the Democrats think it is okay to approve a "far left judge" that uses reverse-discrimination. If they would into her past, they don't need the Republicans to tell them that. She is a Democrat and that's all that matters to them.

    It's funny how Bush nominated two judges that were turned down by the Democrats because they were too conservative.

    Is this what Americans want? Someone who doesn't follow the law, but judges by feelings?

    July 13, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  9. Lampe

    What in the world does any of this have to do with McCain\Palin? Some here can not go a day without running their names through the mud. I can only hope that I live long enough to see the favor returned, when Democrats no longer run everytihing.

    July 13, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  10. Stacy L

    You would think that Republicans would be glad to have a SCOTUS nominee be a judge who has the record of agreeing 95% of the time with her conservative collegues. However, since she was presented by a Democratic president – Obama who they hate – they are choosing to blindly fight her. It makes no sense to me. Hey, whatever floats their boat, I guess.

    July 13, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  11. A.J.

    "This is just more playing to that lowest, fearful, angry portion of the US that began to be seduced by the McCain-Palin campaign"

    Well, I guess that makes me the "lowest, fearful, angry" portion of the U.S. then. Do you even know any McCain voters?

    . "These embers have never cooled off – the opening of a Pandora’s box, indeed, and that, combined with the real threats to personal survival in the economy, et al, are edging this country into a police state far removed from the concepts that created the Constitution"
    I'll tell you what's against the concepts of the constitution: Denying people a promotion based on race. You know, like what Sotomayor did. In fact, she also denied promotion to one person with hispanic heritage and one who was dislexic and had to spend thousands of dollars so he could try and pass the test.

    If no white people passed a test, should the results be thrown out? Of course not. But in the case Sotomayor ruled in, it was treated differently, based on race. That's called racism and unfortunantly it still exists.

    July 13, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  12. Janine from PA.

    I can't believe how full of themselves the congresspeople are. Stop yapping and do a quick hearing and vote, save the taxpayers some money for once.

    July 13, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  13. BHO - fan


    July 13, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  14. Joanne Pacicca

    I disagree. The Democrats are not doing enough! The majority needs to exercise the new mandates of the people that elected them. Sotomayor should be confirmed only if she is the best candidate for the position. It's too easy to fall into the reverse discrimination accusation.

    July 13, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  15. Janet Bertinot

    I suspect that the most enlightening part of these hearings will be the public exposure of the petty nature of the Republican Senators – do these fellows ( I noticed no female senators in their ranks on this committee) – really think they are sounding "impartial" and "regarding the value of the nominee based on the facts" ? If so, they are sorely mistaken and need to try to watch themselves on the replay.

    So much posturing, so much talk about other past nominees, so much unexpressed resentment at the wave of change that is already happening in the society that they supposedly represent.

    This is just more playing to that lowest, fearful, angry portion of the US that began to be seduced by the McCain-Palin campaign. These embers have never cooled off – the opening of a Pandora's box, indeed, and that, combined with the real threats to personal survival in the economy, et al, are edging this country into a police state far removed from the concepts that created the Constitution.

    July 13, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  16. Enough

    What Judgement? The Democrats are pushing through everything and everyone they want. Their like a runaway freight train, taking out everything in it's path. The only reason Sotomayor was even nominated is because she is a Latina woman. More Obama pandering.

    July 13, 2009 at 1:28 pm |