Thursday, July 16, 2009

You Talk A Lot....

When a candidate is being questioned for confirmation, one way to know whether it's a slam dunk or if it's a rocky road is how much the candidate him or herself actually speaks. The same is true for a suspect, if you ever get into that situation: the more the cops talk, the less likely they're convinced they have the right man.

As of Wednesday morning, the senators had spouted 50,082 words.

In response Judge Sotomayor had been able to utter barely 20,000 words (20,728, to be exact).

Monday was the worst day: Senators 23,175  Sotomayor 942.

Some "hearing." Maybe they ought to call it a "talking."

Clearly, this is a stall tactic designed to make the Senators look good under the "advise and consent" clause of the US Constitution. Things got so bad that Al Franken felt the need to do what is arguably the stupidest thing ever in a Senate confirmation hearing: do shtick
FRANKEN: OK. I -- we're going to have a round two, so I'll ask you some more questions there. What was the one case in "Perry Mason" that Berger won?
Admittedly, this was after some very piercing questioning about Internet regulation and privacy rights in which Sotomayor actually DID have the chance to expound on her views.
In point of fact, there's not a whole lot "there" there, as the only legitimate complaint about Sotomayor has been one, and only one, quote of hers with respect the whole "wise Latina woman," and even there, the context in which she spoke (to an audience of, um, wise Latina women) and the speech itself (on how important it was for wise Latina women to be role models for the community).
A remark she has already expressed regret about. Her rulings and her track record suggest a centrist judge with empathy and compassion for those who deserve it, and stern justice for those who don't.
Could we ask for a better judge? Too many of the "old white men" that have been the hallmarks of the Reagan/Bush administrations have never set foot in a ghetto, never seen the inside of a tenement or housing project, never walked the streets of their own neighborhoods terrified of the next dark alley.
Sotomayor has. I think it's safe to say she knows the difference between need and greed, between those who ask us for help and those who beg us for a free ride. She's seen people in actual need, dealt with them in her life outside of the law.
And she's seen scammers and crooks who hide behind the masks of pain and need. This has clearly shaped her use of the law to promote justice. And since the Supreme Court is all about the interpretation of the law, it would be easy to fall back on the patriarchal "Founders intent" viewpoint as so many fasc-- I mean, conservatives have.
It's easy, in other words, to rule on law in the vacuum of textbooks and precedents. You make the law as strict as possible, and ignore that there are hundreds of millions of people out there, each with a different story, each affected differently by the law. And it should not be policy of the government of the United States to treat anyone unfairly, if avoidable.
The rigid, dogmatic thinking, logic and ice cold, of the past 233 years must be changed to incorporate our new understanding of humanity and humankind. This is what I think Sotomayor brings to the court.
And why the Senate won't need her to speak.