Sunday, July 12, 2009

News: It's Confirmation Time!

According to Wikipedia, it's only during the 20th century that Senate confirmation of Supreme Court Justices became a huge political battleground. That may or may not be true (I can't fathom how the times before the American Civil War were any less contentious than current Washington politics), but it is true that public nomination hearings and the resulting media circus are a very modern phenomenon. With YouTube and 24/7 cable news coverage, you can now literally hear and see every potentially controversial thing a nominee has ever said or done.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the Second Circuit is the latest candidate to be put through the wringer, and I sincerely hope that her confirmation is based solely on her ability and competence as a judge, not her video rental records or dubious allegations from former colleagues. Americans have an incredible advantage over most citizens in this respect, since you can literally search all the opinions Judge Sotomayor has ever written or concurred with in a 30 second search on Westlaw.

As for Sotomayor herself, she's well-qualified in a boring, "let's make sure every Supreme Court Justice is an Ivy League-educated Court of Appeals judge" way. If you really want the kind of "diversity" that matters in a legal sense, why not pick a well-regarded state Supreme Court justice?


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