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Sonia Sotomayor and the culture wars
Will there be fireworks next week when Sotomayor's Supreme Court confirmation hearings begin?
 

Get ready for a new battle in the culture wars, said Alex Isenstadt in Politico. "Senate Republicans are finalizing their line of attack against Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, casting the nominee as a biased, closed-minded judge who’s on the wrong side of gun rights and affirmative action cases." GOP politicians "are wary of going too far with attacks on the first Hispanic nominee to the Supreme Court, so they plan to needle her on very specific cases," hoping to sway undecided senators by convincing them that she plays favorites.

There's nothing wrong with having "an informed discussion about the role of the Supreme Court in America's cultural and political life," said Robert F. Nagel in The Weekly Standard. Such a debate "would reveal a great deal about what sort of justice Sonia Sotomayor would be." Critics have already raised a question about "whether Sotomayor thinks that being a Latina would—or should—affect how she decides cases." But don't expect fireworks—absent "some allegation of personal wrongdoing (remember the Clarence Thomas hearings)," Sotomayor's confirmation should reveal little about how she would vote in controversial cases.

Sure, boring Supreme Court confirmation hearings are the norm, said Tony Mauro in USA Today, but it's still worth watching when Sonia Sotomayor goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee starting Monday. "For one thing, an unscripted moment does occasionally break out, revealing something about the nominee"—remember how Robert Bork in 1987 helped sink his own nomination when he said he wanted to be a justice because it would be an "intellectual feast"? Sotomayor might say something interesting—and even if she doesn't, watching comedian Al Franken, now Sen. Al Franken, participate in the hearings "alone should be worth the price of admission."

 

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