So, this is what it's come to (Sotomayor confirmation)

MSNBC story on the fact almost all Judiciary Committee Republicans will vote not to confirm.

To summarize: the Republican senators of the panel (with the notable exception of Lindsey Graham, which, damn it, may force me to rethink my opinions of the man :eek::stuck_out_tongue: ) intend to vote against confirming Justice Sotomayor. I suppose it’s not too surprising, but in light of the relatively innocuous nature of the situation (replacing a moderate-to-liberal justice with a moderate-to-liberal justice), I was kind of hoping that everyone would go back to limiting their opposition to nominees from the other party’s president to expressions of possible doubt, followed by sighing, gruding acquiesence to the fact that there was no legitimate reason not to confirm. You know, like how things used to was.

Here are a sampling of quotes from the committee’s Republicans:

Sen. Sessions: “Sotomayor’s writings and speeches amount to ‘dramatic expressions of an activist view of judging’.” (quoting article quoting Sessions)

Sen. Grassley: “There’s no doubt that Judge Sotomayor has the credentials on paper to be a justice on the Supreme Court. But, her nomination hearing left me with more questions than answers about her judicial philosophy…”

Sen. Johanns: "[P]articularly troubled about Sotomayor’s stance on gun rights, " (according to the article).

And then, the real clincher, again from Sen. Grassley: “He said his vote to confirm Souter ‘has come back to haunt me time and again.’ He added that Sotomayor’s vague answers on the constitutional separation of powers ‘left me with the same pit in my stomach … that I hoped to have cured with his retirement.’” (quoting from article, quoting Grassley)

So Sen. Grassley thinks that Justice Souter was someone he shouldn’t have confirmed! You know, incredibly liberal, horribly activist Justice Souter. Right.

So it’s finally come to this: in the process of advising and consenting, the Sentate has decided that the litmus test for approval of a justice to our Supreme Court is not the way in which the judge under consideration handles his/her duties as a judge (professionalism and judicial demeanor). Instead, it’s all about the politics, now. Who cares if they are rational, calm, decorous persons? Who cares if they are relatively moderate? It doesn’t matter. If you don’t agree with their politics, if you don’t think they will decide cases the way you would want them to, they don’t belong on the Court.

It’s getting way too silly any more. If this is how things are going to come down any more, then why bother with hearings? Why not just nominate, vote, and be done with it? If hearings are a waste of time, as these apparently were, if it’s all about voting against someone who is not ideologically aligned with you (or with your fan base), then let’s just get the vote on record and get on with the next order of business.

And before anyone tries to do so, it is not possible to lay this at the feet of the Republicans. The hearings over the last two Republican nominees showed an equally unreasonable approach on the part of the Democrats. I’m minded in all three cases of spoiled children stamping their feet and acting like it just ain’t fair.

I’m disappointed. They really are just refusing to cooperate for the sake of refusing to cooperate. I’m disgusted with the grandstanding. I want these yahoos to work to make our heaping plate of problems better, but they are still pouting over their political losses.

The Party of NO!!! digs itself in deeper. Seriously, do they really not see how this sort of silly intransigence, this nakedly political posturing, hurts them with everyone beyond their increasingly narrow base? Do they not understand what the changing demographics of the country bode for them if they keep on this path? If a reasonably sized segment of Republican Senators had looked at the odds on Sotomayor winning confirmation, faced reality, and chosen to welcome her as a historic addition to the court (while quietly thanking their brand of God that she was no worse than Souter), they could have actually improved the image of their party among the independents who have been turning away from them in disgust, could even have swayed some Hispanics to regard them more favorably, despite the way the GOP has made a nasty nativist hash of immigration reform.

Further reflecting: The Republicans’ bewildered, flailing fury at losing power seems to be blinding them to the trap they’ve enthusiastically dug for themselves. Obama drove the left wing berserk with his efforts to get bipartisan support for his earliest legislative endeavors, and the GOP responded to those efforts without even a pretense at trying to work with him; instead they trumpeted their determination to oppose Obama at every turn, and they’ve followed through on that bitter promise.

The result? They’re widely mocked as “The Party of NO”; they’re regarded by large swaths of the independent middle as obstructionists with no plan for the nation’s problems beyond refusing to do anything other than posture and bluster; and Obama meanwhile can point to his early efforts and say “See? I tried to work with the GOP, and they refused to unclench their fist.”

As things currently stand, to me it looks as if the Republican playbook was written by an enraged two-year-old.

I’m not sure what the debate is here. Yes, this is what it has come down to, and I don’t see any reason it’s going to change. I suppose you could debate whether or not we should amend the constitution to change the process, but that’s ridiculously unlikely, too.

I think, John, that what we’re seeing is a tendency to the extreme of a flaw inherent in the process of Congressional hearings themselves: that they provide a handy-dandy forum for posturing, grandstanding, and bloviating to the base. How much actual useful evidence does the average House or Senate hearing garner as opposed to self-aggrandizing speechifying? And how much worse is it likely to be when the issue at hand is a headline-maker and the cameras are there?

I love how the Republicans are using the word “liberal” as a bludgeon in this nomination. As if the Supreme Court should be filled with nothing but “conservative” justices.

The reason for the thread wasn’t just because politics was involved. The question that is now before the house of delegates is simple: SHOULD our debates on justices for our land’s highest court devolve into nothing but partisan spats over well-rehearsed sound bites? In other words, is what has happened to the process a good thing? Does it force moderation on the presidents who are selecting justices, so that they can overcome potential carping from the opposition? Are there other reasons why we should eject several decades of relative calm over such nominations?

And on a broader scale, are we evolving towards a more Government/Opposition approach to politics? Has it gotten to the point where every political question is seen in terms of “Conservative” v. “Liberal”? When I was growing up, the fact that the so-called Democrats of the South were anything BUT liberal, combined with the fact that the Republicans of the NorthEast and West Coast had very moderate views, meant that any given question was not easily dichotomized along party lines. Have we outgrown that? Are we now reduced to having one side in power and the other side throwing brickbats while it plots to regain power? :frowning:

Where have we come from? Right wing marketeers tend to point to Borke’s hearings as a watershed event, sometimes those of Thomas. Is that accurate or fluff?

Is the OP suggesting that prior to arrival at today’s situation, politicians made reasoned choices about confirmation? Given the sleazy infighting that goes back to at least Adams-Jefferson, I find this somewhat hard to believe.

Not that I’m defending today’s situation, just that I’m not sure kids today don’t disrespect their parents more, or that music is worse today, or that …

Well, yeah, it’s bad. But you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.

As ye sow, so shall ye reap.

If Democrats want judges who will be activist for political causes, then it rings a little tinny when they complain that the process of approval has become politicized. Watching that fat bastard Kennedy bloviate for hours at Bork and completely ignore his answers rather reduces the tendency towards sympathy when the shoe is on the other foot.

Bork was a hundred times better qualified for the Supreme Court than Sotomayor. Any Democrat who didn’t support his nomination, in the Senate or out of it, has no basis for complaint now.

If Obama or the Dems want to be taken seriously, then when a conservative Justice retires or dies, let’s see Obama nominate a conservative who is as well-qualified as Sotomayor (and who has made equivalently racist remarks, if possible). Then all the Dems who are so concerned with balance on the Court can vote for him.

Or not.


They don’t.

There are actually 2 groups of people that aren’t classified as ‘liberal’, not just 1. But given your OP castigating people for painting a white and black picture of politics, you know that. Right?


Or maybe not. :rolleyes:

Sure they do.

The only trouble is that I used to believe that the Republicans were different. They’re not. While some may indeed hew to the idea that for judges, the law should determine the outcome instead of the outcome determining the law, I have been disabused of that notion lately.

So this is all ok on the doctrine of “Two wrongs make a right” theory? :rolleyes:

It was shitty when Dems did it but I see that as no reason to then be ok with it when Reps do it. Bullshit is bullshit regardless of who is slinging it.

I do, yes, but do you really think Jeff Sessions wants someone “moderate” instead? :wink:


Yet the Bork hearings didn’t spawn the same result for later nominations. As I carefully outlined in a post a few weeks ago (that I’m too darned lazy to look up), the Bork and Thomas hearings were isolated incidents; other nominations went quite smoothly, on both “sides” of the issue. And prior to the Bork hearings, most nominations of the 60s and 70s and 80s were relatively low-key affairs, without a ton of political mudslinging and rancorous debate with split votes.

I was going to address this in some way, but I think I’ll let it pass. It’s not exactly making a really strong point.

The Republican party has become hostage to knuckle walkers. That’s what this is about. They are enslaved to the dying and desperate white nationalist, theocratic, xenophobic rump of the body politic. The GOP has pandered to this element so long that it no longer has control. They are in a catch-22 in which they can never regain power at a national level unless they let go of this element, but on a more personal and basic level, they’re afraid they can’t keep their own jobs unless they lie prostrate before Rush Limbaugh, humor nonsensical conspiracy theories and oppose absolutely everything the duly elected (and still astonishingly popular given the economic circumstances and the constant torrent of right wing media vilification and fabrication) President, not for ideological reasons, but purely as a strategy of sabotage.

All politics is local. These Senators are not looking out for their country or even their own party. They’re looking out for number one.

No, it wasn’t wrong when the Dems did it, at least in the eyes of many.

I don’t recall your making much objection when in the past

Nor in condemning the fat-headed fucks who have done what they could to politicize the process in the past

Your condemnations are a little one-sided. Funny, that.


On edit

As above, no, they did not, and for exactly the reasons you condemn now.