Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sonia Sotomayor Hearings Day Two: Brief Thought on the Non-Debate

I find the hearings rather disappointing so far (up through Feinstein's first line of questions). The Democrats are, to be expected, defending Sonia Sotomayor's prior rulings because she is a Democratic appointee. They say she is a modest judge who followed the law but of course judges do not have that option to follow the law and adhere to precedent or reverse course. A Supreme Court justice, which Sonia Sotomayor was nominated to be, can. They are not challenging her commitment on privacy rights, the separation of church and state, civil rights and its offshoot, gay rights. Sotomayor obviously won't answer questions concerning how she would rule in any specific case they can ask her what standards she would use to overturn Supreme Court precedents or when "settled law" becomes "unsettled." And they can ask her what criteria she would use to determine whether a law or administrative decision is an unconstitutional abridgment of equal rights or a legitimate law that disparately impacts two groups of people.

Amendment: Apparently Senator Feinstein asked Sonia Sotomayor when overturning precedents is proper and when it is not.

The Republicans, (Senator Hatch being an exception) have rallied around the usual talking points concerning bias. I found Senator Sessions' questioning to be a complete waste of time. He basically called her a racist without explicitly saying so and she vehemently denied it.

Senator Hatch asked her some probing questions concerning her views not only on the Second Amendment but also on the incorporation of constitutional rights and when such rights can be treated as fundamental and when they should not be treated as fundamental.

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