Sotomayor Is Not A Robot

There’s no point in even having Senate confirmation hearings anymore for they confirm nothing; the candidates don’t say anything even remotely prejudicial toward an issue that might one day come before the Supreme Court, lest they fall victim as did Judge Bork, who made his views known and was thankfully rejected because of them.  Since Bork, no candidates have said much of anything on their personal views on the issues of our time, though, one can infer those views, based on background, experience and judicial rulings.

Look at Judge Roberts.  In his confirmation hearings, he refused to divulge his personal views on abortion, though having helped Bush the Elder write a Supreme Court brief that argued Roe v. Wade should be overturned, we could easily infer his position.   Abortion was his litmus test, and he was nominated in part because of the promise that he might conspire with the other reactionary justices on the court to overturn the landmark piece of legislation that guarantees a woman the right to reproductive freedom.

Judge Sotomayor was not subject to a partisan litmus test on the issues.  President Obama felt Sotomayor would help maintain the ideological balance on the court to protect the precious freedoms our constitutional rights afford us.  And to nominate and have confirmed his pick is a right Obama earned.

It seemed to me that in addition to ideological differences on substantive issues, the Republicans were equally, if not more concerned about the perceived threat a woman of color on the High Court might pose to the doctrine of white privilege.

Resigned to the fact that that Sotomayor will be confirmed, the Republicans are relieved that the ideological balance will not likely shift significantly – and secretly, I believe they feel she just might be more of a mainstream justice – less independent minded than Justice Souter, the man she will replace.

The top moment in the confirmation hearing came in the form of comic relief by none other than the Senates’ newest member and best comedian, Al Franken.

Franken:  What was the one case in Perry Mason that Berger won?

Sotomayor:  I know that I should remember the name of it….

Franken: Didn’t the White House prepare you for that?

The fact is, she was prepared enough to know  to say nothing except to pledge fidelity to the law.  We do know she watched Perry Mason as a kid, and liked the show very much.   Although she tried to show a dispassionate side throughout the hearings, her exchange with Franken and the fact that she watched a little bit of the All-Star game reminds and reassures us that she is not a robot.