02 June 2009

"Sotomayor tells senators she'd follow the law"

That's a headline over at the MSNBC website. It shows you how much the radio talkers are shaping the debate, because otherwise such a commonplace utterance from a Supreme Court nominee wouldn't be headline news. The story also continues the unhappy trend of other people reporting what Judge Sotomayor said to them rather hearing any of it straight from the judge. I suppose that's only proper before the confirmation hearings, but it gives the sense of people putting words in her mouth, or of an administration afraid to let her speak for herself. At least this time we're hearing accounts of her remarks that aren't just administration propaganda. Senator Sessions, for instance, who is expected to question her sharply as the leading Republican on the judiciary committee, told reporters that she had told him she meant to "follow the law," but he implied to reporters that her attempted reassurance only begged the question, which was how one knew what the law was. Republicans and "strict constructionists" worry that she'll follow what she might call the spirit rather than the letter of the law, and that the spirit will really be the ghost of her own life experiences -- while they themselves think they can hear the ghosts of the Framers by reading the Constitution very carefully and reverently.

The confirmation hearings won't take place until September. That means we have a whole summer of this stuff to look forward to. Aren't you excited?

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