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Welcome to a more empathetic world, dear readers!
If you thought that Senatorial discourse peppered with self-consciously rolled 'rrrs,' discussion of the apocryphal "Empathy Standard," and affected heartbreak over the plight of certain New Haven firefighters was a thing of the past, today's debate preceding the vote to confirm Sonia Sotomayor probably filled your heart with gladness. In their brief comments on the Senate floor, luminaries from both sides of the aisle lauded/lamented the apotheosis/ignominy of l'affaire Sotomayor. As might be expected, Democrats revisited her humble beginnings in a Bronx 'housing project,' her 24-mile-roundtrip walk to school in the snow with no shoes, and her long and extraordinary history of applying law to facts. Republicans bemoaned SS's fear and loathing of impartial decision-making, the imminent disappearance of our Second Amendment rights, and the dawn of a new era of judicial activism.
Democrats responded with talk of the "long, grueling confirmation process" [um, 10 weeks?] and SS's beatific equanimity during the Judiciary Committee hearings, which occurred after she had "just broken her leg." Republicans expressed disappointment in POTUS's decision to nominate an emotional decision-maker, a willy-nilly empathizer, a woman with a "fully-formed" judicial philosophy that practically LOLs at "blindfolded justice." And, somewhat nihil ad rem, Senator Leahy seized the opportunity to express dismay at certain of the 8 male SCOTUS justices who laughed, during the recent argument in Redding v. Safford Unified School District, at the notion of a young, female student being strip searched. Dirty justices! This blogress wonders: did Sen. Leahy think of having audio transcripts scrutinized in order to determine whether it was conservative laughter? Perhaps the best part of the show, however, was Senator Al Franken's seat at the helm, as the Presiding Officer, during much of the floor debate. If one were to listen without visuals, one could be carried along by the belief that something funny was about to happen, or that someone would suddenly shout "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!"
In the end, the Democrats' smirky pride in their nominee, and her forthcoming confirmation, could not be subdued. "You asked for fair and balanced," they seemed to say to their colleagues, "and we gave you a fair, balanced member of a key demographic, whose members you now have an opportunity to curry favor with before the next election!" After all had spoken, the Senators returned to their teeny antique desks to sit quietly and voice their votes. Although Clerquette could not be entirely certain, she believes that there may have been attempts to pull and/or dip in inkwells any available long hair, and note-passing between Senatrixes Boxer, Feinstein, and Cantwell.
This chart, courtesy C-Span, shows a breakdown of the vote. But, for a delightfully spangly graphic, showing notable quotes from defiant Republicans, their margin of victory in the last election, whom their constituents voted for in the Presidential race, and whether they prefer smooth or chunky peanut butter, check out this chart in the New York Times.