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July 15, 2009

Has anything interesting happened during the Sotomayor hearings?

Though I have read snippets of some Q&A with Judge Sotomayor that mentioned gun rights and the death penalty, I am finding the entire spectacle of this week's confirmation hearings both boring and off-putting.  Am I missing something, or was I just foolish for hoping for the event might be more satisfying?

July 15, 2009 at 06:42 PM | Permalink


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The fix is in. No matter the gaffe, the horrible misstatement, the crime, the treason, the openly expressed hatred for our way of life, she will be confirmed. There is no point to watching her giving coached answers. The vote will have the tension of a Soviet election.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 15, 2009 7:04:30 PM

Professor Berman,

Re the Sotomayor hearings, you are missing nothing. What is most off-putting to me is the clamor of the Democrat Senators to emphasize that J. Sotomayor has shown herself to be just as "heartless" and "conservative" as Justices Roberts and Alito, viz., that it was her ruling which paved the way for the first federal death penalty prosecution in NY in 40 years; that she found that the families of the victims of the TWA plane crash off of Long Island had not asserted a federal claim; that she denied relief to a minority woman claiming discrimination in a bank's lending decision because she had missed a filing deadline (like Ledbetter), that she would never let her heart guide her in a case; that she ruled for the government 93% of the time; that she ruled against immigrants almost as often; that she was tough on crime as a prosecutor, etc. etc. I have been a criminal defense lawyer in NY for almost 25 years mostly with a federal practice. I'm unaware of a single colleague who sings her praises. In choosing her, President Obama has made it abundantly clear that he is unwilling to expend any political capital on this Supreme Court selection.

Posted by: Gary G. Becker | Jul 15, 2009 7:40:03 PM

Sotomayor sounded like a conservative judge. We all know it's BS, but her repudiation of lib judging is remarkable.

Posted by: federalist | Jul 15, 2009 7:41:53 PM

federalist, you would call Roberts and Alito lib judges if it would help get a new justice to the right of them.

Posted by: George | Jul 16, 2009 1:38:04 AM

Ever since Robert Bork, nominees have mastered the art of saying as little as possible. Bork could have been on the Court too, if he’d kept his trap shut.

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | Jul 16, 2009 9:38:40 AM

Gary G. Becker -- "Sotomayor has shown herself to be just as "heartless" and "conservative" as Justices Roberts and Alito, viz. ... Obama has made it abundantly clear that he is unwilling to expend any political capital on this Supreme Court selection."

Well said.

Sure, it's gratifying to have a poised president who gives inspiring speeches in English.

Yet, Don Siegleman is still on the hook in Alabama.

Rove-Bush prosecutors (the ones who weren't fired for not being compliant Bushies) are still on board at the DOJ.

A lengthy list of ugly Bush policies is still in play.

And nos Obama's first SC nominee looks like a good fit with right-wing "movement judges" already on the court.

Obama's presidency continues to disappoint.

Posted by: John K | Jul 16, 2009 10:07:11 AM

Senators who mouth the buzz words to curry favor with their white race base need to be called out for abusing the time of the Senate and sucking up free television time. It goes like this: you voted against those firefighters, you are for affirmative action, busing, you are a white male hating feminist activist judge. Lee Atwater and his crony Karl Rove got it right years ago. You can not use the N word or call anyone 'Boy' anymore but the other buzz words are fair and the targets are fair game. Ratchet up the cornpone in the speech accent and it works in the hills and hollers of Alabama, Tennessee and Texas for the likes of Sessions, Cornyn and Corker.

That being said, I do not think that she will be as good a judge as Souter and nor will she vote in his path. I fear that in the next two years we will see the Apprendi and Crawford majorities flip. Melendez-Diaz shows how the Crawford nine/zip goes to five/four with lots of rants in the dissent about how the sky is falling. The former prosecutor will fall for the sky is falling mantra. We might be calling this fine forum the "Post Booker Blog."

Posted by: mpb | Jul 16, 2009 10:07:29 AM

Oh, the Q&A are fantastic! It gives the public a closeup view of how male attorneys treat female attorney in the courtroom.

The idea of justice is beautiful, but the vipers in the tarnish...

Posted by: Nanny | Jul 17, 2009 11:14:11 PM

One more thing...all of you here know that judges play politics when they want to and she may have played politics and decided to let the matter be resolved in SCOTUS.

Had I been a judge, I would have done the same thing.

Posted by: Nanny | Jul 17, 2009 11:21:12 PM

Well, there is this, which may be interesting to Prof. Berman both for its humor and substance.

The crack/powder issue was discussed briefly at the hearing.


Posted by: anonymous | Jul 20, 2009 11:34:45 AM

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