At long last, Groupies - the confirmation hearings have arrived! The theater, the spectacle, the longwinded speeches, the chance to watch the sausage being made (or at least thinly sliced) ... what's not to delight in? Clerquette hopes you've had some time to tune in, and reminds you that you can live, or relive, the magic with our liveblog coverage of the hearings here and here .
If you happened to miss the hearings, allow Clerquette to summarize them thus, in three short words: Wise Latina Woman. Yes, dear readers: Wise Latina Woman ("WLW") was the phrase of the day, and may join "bailout," "too big to fail," and "Yes we can!" in the lexicon of horrible overuse by day's end. Having little else in the way of seamy fodder, the minority has chosen to focus on the dangers of judicial wiseLatinawomanism, and all that it implies ... and, as became clear over the course of the hearings, what it implies (quite simply) is judicial activism. Indeed, WLW-gate appears to have provided the crucible for determining whether Judge Sotomayor is a latent racist, a hater of white men, and a jurist in the thrall of the demon known as "empathy." This is, admittedly, thin gruel -- perhaps too thin to sustain several days of hearings.
Some Senators (you know who you are, Senator Cornyn) made vague, but still hyperbolic, references to the danger of both judicial activism and the undesirable quality known as "empathy"). Others delighted the dorkiest spectators among us, including Yours Truly, with forays into the substantive. Notably, Sen. Arlen Spector complained about the decline in cert petitions granted, and Sen. Klobuchar expressed her intent to delve into SS's opinions on the Fourth Amendment, the Confrontation Clause, and sentencing law and policy. (Why the Fourth Amendment? Why the Confrontation Clause? Who knows. Hey: it sounded good.)
At the break, Sen. Graham's remarks, during which he announced that confirmation was guaranteed as long as SS could avoid a "meltdown," were much discussed. On CNN, an overly-tan Jeffrey Toobin fumbled with a complicated interactive touch-screen graphic, referred to as the "Magic Wall," in an attempt to explain Ricci v. DeStafano. Using the Magic Wall, Toobin could flip through tabs marked "Topic," "Issue," "Ruling," and "Outcome," but he appeared somewhat intimidated by the apparatus. Indeed, the Magic Wall had the creepy quality of a law school IRAC brief that had grown, Seymour-like, and gotten its own Facebook page. Incidentally, Ricci himself will testify (as a minority witness) this week at the hearings. Why? Because he's a firefighter, and anyone who rules against firefighters is a terrorist ... an empathetic, wise, Latina terrorist.
After the lunch break, things proceeded quickly. (Sen. Leahy indicated that he wanted to end the session early because SS might be in pain due to her casted ankle. Clerquette suspects that 9, and possibly 18, holes beckoned certain committee members.) The crowd waited breathlessly for Al Franken to speak, and, secondarily, for SS's remarks. When Franken finally took the floor, this blogress heard the collective intake of breath as a chamber full of spectators waited for him to say something funny. "Drop the funny bomb!" they seemed to plead wordlessly. Franken declined, sticking to an uneventful round of shout-outs and a few heartfelt words about how seriously he takes Senatorhood. Unspoken was the sentiment, clear from his body language, that Norm Coleman could suck it. The post-show consensus: Franken was unfunny. From Wolf Blitzer to NPR, Franken was panned for his unfunniness. Poor Franken.
Finally, Sotomayor spoke. She seemed visibly relieved at the chance to tell her own, beautifully inspiring story. In her brief remarks, she pronounced her "fidelity" to the rule of law, her respect for the Constitution, and her commitment to impartiality. Since, however, she did not deny that she was a wise Latina woman (and therefore better able than crusty white men to determine the appropriate outcome in a given case), the inquiry into her pernicious brand of wise, Latina wisdom will resume tomorrow.
Join us for continued liveblogging at 9:30 tomorrow!