The fourth and final day of the Sotomayor judicial hearing brought panels with those speaking for and against her ascension to the Supreme Court. These panels are the most interesting to me because they are people with strong opinions and not politicians questioning her with the undercurrents of politics as usual.
What struck me is the constant droning on and on about Sotomayor's 'compelling life story'. What I kept thinking, each time I heard that phrase, was well, most everyone has a compelling life story. The stories of people, biographies, are about my favorite classification of reading material. People fascinate me. What makes each of us tick? Why do we make one decision over another option? How does the human mind work?
I would argue that most everyone has a compelling life story. We are all different and we all face adversities and challenges in our lives. Even those who would present a perfect life to the outside world have tragedy to handle. I don't think minority groups or gender solely dictate a compelling life story. This is why conservatives so resent liberals who are all about identity politics and victimization as political gain. It's wrong. It's not in the best interest of American society.
Here is a name that kept popping up: Miguel Estrada. Many would say, including me, that his life story is more compelling that Ms. Sotomayor. He didn't even speak English until the age of 10. He achieved as much, if not more, than Ms. Sotomayor except he was denied a seat as a Federal Judge. By whom? The Democrats. All about politics of identity.
Miguel Estrada. Harvard graduate, appellate court judge who was denied a hearing on his Federal Court nomination by President George W. Bush for 480 days. Estrada withdrew his name and got on with his life. While unserious men like Sen Pat Leahy, now the Chairman of the Senate Judicial Committee - the one in charge of the hearings - continue to state that Republicans didn't have a hearing for Estrada while they were in charge, he conveniently doesn't say that the Republicans were only in charge for 14 days from the time of the nomination to the defection from the Republican party by Sen Jim Jeffords, which put the majority into the hands of the Democrats. So, 480 versus 14 days doesn't seem like much of a comparison. Even when Republicans reclaimed a small majority in 2003, the Democrats filibustered Estrada's nomination. The New York Times even called the filibuster "extraordinary".
Later some memos surfaced that were written by the Democratic staff of the Judicial Committee which called Estrada "extremely dangerous" since he was Latino and "The White House seems to be grooming him for a Supreme Court appointment." The memo was written by a staffer for Sen Dick Durbin. You may have noticed his snide questions to Linda Chavez today about her objections to the nomination of Sotomayor.
See, the only good Hispanic nominations are the ones by Democrats. And the constant reference to the fact that President G.H.W. Bush nominated Sotomayor to her first Senate confirmable judgeship? Remember that was a deal struck with Patrick Monyihan so that the blockade on Bush nominees would be broken and the Democrats were allowed 2 choices for the 7 open seats to fill. And, as we see, Democrats were willing to be tools of their own ideology instead of allow a Hispanic to be put on the Federal bench by a Republican president. It was all about the Hispanic vote in future elections.
Despite the mandatory braying of the left on those mean ole Republicans on the Judicial Committee who actually tried to get some information from the nominee, it was all a breeze for her compared to Estrada. Or Robert Bork. Or John Roberts. Or Sam Alito. Or Clarence Thomas. All Republicans.
Sotomayor will be confirmed. I would not support a filibuster or any efforts to block her appointment. She will not affect the balance of the Supreme Court. She will replace another liberal. The liberal outside interest groups did the predictable. They ran campaigns to slur the Republican Senators on the Judicial Committee who did their job. Senator Sessions, Ranking Member and a man who was denied a Federal Judgeship by a Democrat controlled Senate 20 years ago himself, was a prime target for the hateful, unserious crowd. No hope for change in Washington when the same tactics revolve in circles. The Democrats continue to ramp it all up.
I am proud of the civil discourse while doing the job presented to them that the Republican Senators did during the confirmation hearing of Sonia Sotomayor. I await the day when a Republican nominee is treated with dignity and respect.