Instead, we are in for yet another circus. Any hope that Republicans might not go full bore after a Latina with an admirable personal story – Sotomayor grew up in a rough Bronx housing project and thrived despite suffering from juvenile diabetes and enduring her father’s death at age 9 – is already history.
Now she can expect two more months of microscopic scrutiny and parsing of her past in the cable-TV torture chamber. She deserves better.
President Obama, however, does not. Call it political karma. In 2005, as an Illinois senator, he joined 21 other Democrats in voting not to seat Roberts – even after Roberts delivered the most dazzling performance in the modern history of Senate confirmation hearings. In 2006, in the low point of his Senate career, Obama joined a filibuster meant to keep Alito off the court.
This came after a contemptible campaign to smear Alito as a racist and a sexist because of the actions of some members of a college club to which he once belonged and as a fascist who thought police should be allowed to strip-search a 10-year-old girl without a cause or a warrant. This bile wasn’t delivered via anonymous e-mails or mailed hit pieces. It came straight from Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass. – and Obama, the man who celebrates civility and tolerance, offered no objection.
If Sotomayor faces treatment even one-tenth as unfair and the president complains about it, he will have much explaining to do. And perhaps a little soul-searching, too.
It is my hope that the Reublicans in the Senate treat Judge Sotomayor better than President Obama treated the Bush nominees. Ask the hard questions but don’t go over the top. Many groups will be using this as a fund raising opportunity and will do all they can to exploit this nomination. I’m not fired up about this nomination but McCain didn’t win.