I enjoy committee hearings. Not for the democratic process or for the breadth of new information that is produced, though. But because it gives the chance for several self-important politicians make the case of their importance. I listened today to the morning session and for part of the afternoon as Judge Sotomayor listened to them repeat themselves over and over again. The best part was when Sen. Orrin Hatch added a law review article he recently wrote to the Congressional Record. What is the point of that? There really isn’t one. It just looks good.
Other than that, nothing new came out. “Wise Latina” this… “activist judge” that. “Chief Justice Roberts” this… “individual freedoms” that. A series of generalities did not lead to anything today that was not a waste of everyone’s time. But that is democracy at its finest – a lot of waste.
Like many Senators, I am concerned about Judge Sotomayor. Not for abortion or gay rights or union rights. The typical ideological issues do not interest me. I am more concerned with her opinions on police procedures and want to know her thoughts on executive power.
The moving of the Court to the right may be important to interest groups to collect money, but the Court must stand up to ensure that the three branches do have meanings. Since United States v. Nixon, executive power has become greater, yet regulations and Congress’s powers have diminished. I got the sense that there may be a few questions related to this issue, but I would imagine national security issues will dominate.
Overall, it’s a useless display of questions. As Sen. Graham stated today, unless she goes off the wall, she will be confirmed. Either way, the next week will provide a lot of interesting sound bites. Any time Senators can talk, they will. And who knows what newly Democratic Senator Specter will do or say. His statement today was very unlike Sen. Specter, it can only get crazier.
Update (7/14) : Wouldn’t it be nice if she said something interesting? She could not even get into what her judicial temperament or philosophy is because she is afraid of losing votes. This is not a good system. There must be a better way.