Today the business of Congress - voting - was concluded by 2:00 pm so that the members could watch the All Star baseball game. One vote not taken was the one on funding the military, which included a raise in pay for the service men and women fighting for our freedom to partake in activities like baseball games. Your tax dollars at work.
Meanwhile, it was day two for Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearing before the Senate Judicial Committee. Eleven of the nineteen committee members asked questions and Sotomayor answered. Well, for some of the questions she provided vague, ring around the Rosie answers. But, that is to be expected for the process. There was a whole lot of backing away from her previous 'wise Latina woman' statement that was uttered not in a single instance, but in multiple speeches. Plural. That phrase, uttered in innocent passing or not, does not sit well with the Heartland of America. The average American doesn't think one group should be singled out as wiser than another, for whatever reasons.
Some legal analysts expressed concern that Sotomayor presented contradictory remarks when compared to her actual record. A record as long as Sotomayor's - heralded over and over by the Democrats as the greatest, lengthiest record since the beginning of time - was certain to have some pitfalls. Wendy Long, in National Review Online points out "She has tried to erase her long history of statements that a judge's personal background and views can be brought to bear on a case and indeed used to make "law" and affect "the facts that I choose to see" by now claiming that all she meant was her background and views just help her to see all sides of a case impartially. If that is what she really meant all these years, she could have said ti. It is not what she said."
A contentious item is her former membership in the PRLDEF - Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. She was a member for 12 years - four as Director, two on the Board of Directors. It is a controversial group, much like the ACLU to many. Some wonder why her membership in this organization and active participation in it should be off limits. Especially after during the previous judicial nominee hearing of Justice Alito his membership in college in the Concerned Alumni of Princeton was so scrutinized - to the point of members such as Teddy (the swimmer) Kennedy calling Alito a racist. The fact was that Alito was only a member in name and not an active participant in the organization. He signed up in college and didn't pursue any action on the membership. Alito's wife was brought to tears as the Democrats beat up on him over this. Senator Graham rehabilitated him in questioning and the hearing went on.
The Republicans are conducting themselves, as the minority, in a much more dignified manner. As usual. It was the Democrats like Kennedy who brought the process into the gutter, over 20 years ago. Republicans confirmed Ruth Bader Ginsburg unanimously, though they all disagree with her judicial philosophy. Why? A President is entitled to his nominee as long as the person is qualified and exhibits good character. Simple as that.
Questioning the nominees is the task of the opposition. Those in support of the nominee provide the hearts and flowery speeches. Dianne Feinstein could not slobber more if she tried. Feinstein is not an attorney yet she plays one during these hearings.
Ranking member Jeff Sessions did a solid job in his questioning. Senator Graham was one of the last of the day and his job performance was admirable, too. Republicans did not bring Sotomayor to tears, or any of her family sitting behind her.
Chairman Leahy said he didn't learn anything new about Sotomayor today. That fairly well sums it all up.