Political Theatre

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by HatterDon, Jul 16, 2009.

  1. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

    Mar 18, 2006
    Peoples Republic of South Texas
    Political theatre for profit to be sure, that is, and that's what the Sotomayor confirmation hearings are -- from start to finish, from top to bottom, from inside to out.

    To a certain degree all federal judiciary confirmation hearings are theatre, but in this case, the hearing is TOTALLY theatre.

    The typical judicial nominee has been most recently earning a living as a politician, as a prosecutor, or as a law professor. When this is the situation, the senate panel has to rely on publications and speeches to divine what sort of federal judge the nominee might make. In the case of Sotomayor, her most recent position was as A FEDERAL JUDGE, and an appelate court judge at that.

    In other words, there's no reason to probe speeches and publications to determine how she might do, there's plenty of record out there as a federal judge. And there's nothing in her record to be construed as proof that she doesn't belong with the Supremes. Shortly after the president announced her name, the consensus AMONG SENATE REPUBLICANS was that she was a shoo-in for confirmation.

    However, a confirmation hearing as short and good-humored as say the one Liddy Dole got as Reagan's Secy of Transportation [she and the senator traded their favorite Bob Dole jokes], was not going to happen. Why? Because there's an election next year, and BOTH parties need for their contributors to get their check-writing muscles in shape.

    And so the Republicans -- knowing full well that she's qualified and fit -- bring up inconsequential phrases just to show their checkwriters that they aren't knuckling under to Obama or -- worse yet -- helping him to succeed. And so the Democrats -- knowing full well that none of the criticism towards her is either racist or sexist -- pander to their base who love to write checks anytime they think there's a possibility of either ism rearing its head.

    And it would be fine that the hearings exist primarily to fill the coffers of the DNC and RNC in preparation for 2010's off year elections, but the entire thing is taxpayer-supported and the mini-series is keeping [supposedly] serious people away from [definitely] serious problems.

    Now if I were still teaching high school government, I'd love this. It's a tremendous teaching moment not only in how our governmental system works, but also in how politics is inextricable from governance in a democracy. But since I have no students to teach, I just look at the news articles and say, "Are they still milking this shit? Haven't they raised enough money?"

    Bitch and Moan 'R Us.
  2. SteveM19

    SteveM19 New Member

    Sep 30, 2007
    Cleveland OH
    The more things change...

    The hearings this reminds me of is the justice she will replace, Souter. A quiet, mild-mannered man from a small state (NH), who had a pretty broad view of constitutional rights before and after his nomination. The, w/ Bush Sr in office, the roles were reversed, with the Dems as the antagonist. Fortunately I can't remember firsthand the senators who took the lead on this one, as that space in my brain has been taken over by more useful information, but Wikipedia tells me is was Ted Kennedy and Kerry.

    With no real proof of their sentiment, all the pro-choice groups mobilized to have him topssed out on his ear, and by a count of something like 90-10, they failed. Ironic, in that he was about the most liberal judge on the court in the last 20 years.

    ... the more they stay the same.
  3. timmyg

    timmyg Well-Known Member

    Nov 20, 2006
    hear hear don.

    on the flip side, remember in 2005 when Kennedy flipped out at Alito over the "Concerned Alumni of Princeton"? To the point where he kept reading information to and asking Alito about the controversial group, when he was never a member to begin with?

    Bread and circus.
  4. Clevelandmo

    Clevelandmo Active Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    While I agree there is some milking and politics going on, I do think these hearings are important at their core for the obvious reasons, but also because:

    1. Sotomayer, after confirmation, will go off to court and the public and the Senate will pretty much only hear her speak through written opinions again. This is an opportunity to hear her speack, know what she's like, basically be human to the rest of us

    2. Even though they continue to bring up a few of the same lines from speeches (when they have plenty of actual cases/decisions to critique), this is a chance for the Senators to express their concerns about the SC and the judicial branch to Sotomayer. Something that I think is part of their duty and that they will have little opportunity to do later.

    Are these hearings perfect, no, but I still think overall they are a positive.
  5. pettyfog

    pettyfog Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2005

    The purpose of this IS what you say, it's political. She IS gonna be voted in.

    Nowhere, though, did you mention this is when the stake is driven in the ground and the candidate must go on record.

    If you want to address HER judicial record, there's plenty of fodder there from her reversals.

    She'll have to explain Ricci and that will be interesting considering her comments the last few days;
    summary : I was just speechifying.

    She had to go on record on her thoughts on KELO. That caused some hope among originalists but I wouldnt bet against her voting with the majority on that when the next one comes up.
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