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Sotomayor’s Confirmation: First Morning

Monday, July 13, 2009 at 02:09 PM EDT


“Unless you have a complete meltdown, you’re going to get confirmed. And I don’t think you will.”

–Senator Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina.

“Let no one demean this extraordinary woman, her success, or her understanding of the constitutional duties she has faithfully performed for the last seventeen years.”

–Committee Chairman, Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vermont.

While there is glowing praise coming out of the first morning of Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing, she has not escaped criticism. CNN quoted Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) as saying,

“Call it empathy, call it prejudice, call it sympathy — whatever it is, it is not law.”

He went on to say that she is the kind of “activist judge” that does not belong in the Supreme Court, further citing a speech where Sotomayor said that “a wise Latina woman should be able to reach a better ruling than a white man.”

Given the Democrats control of the Senate, in addition to the Judiciary committee, many speculate that Sotomayor will be confirmed without issue, in spite of protests from the Right.

While some worry that Sotomayor will upset the balance of the Supreme Court, MSNBC states that it is unlikely her appointment would result in any changes on issues like affirmative action or abortion.

The confirmation hearings will go on for the next couple of days, as Sotomayor is questioned by the committee. Aside from anti-abortion protesters who were quickly silenced, the proceedings went rather smoothly.

The question remains as to whether Sotomayor is an activist judge with an agenda, or a great American story.

There should be less emphasis placed on her story, and more on her merits as a judge. Whether she gets confirmed or not, she might want to tone down the Latina woman vs. White Man rhetoric, as it could undermine what she actually brings to the table.