Sotomayor hearings: day one
The Senate Judiciary Committee opened its confirmation hearings on Sotomayor today, which is to say they began with the usual round of prepared statements from senators...meaning the usual from each of them, which is to say that not much really exciting happened. At least in the hearing room...
Unless you count a few outbursts from protestors.
And Chris Matthews getting a "thrill up his leg" today...
And the fact that Al Franken is now on the Judicary Committee (geezz).
But you do have to love what Jeff Sessions had to say in his opening statement:
“I will not vote for—no senator should vote for—an individual nominated by any president who believes it is acceptable for a judge to allow their own personal background, gender, prejudices, or sympathies to sway their decision in favor of, or against, parties before the court,” said Session (R-Ala.), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. …
“Judge Sotomayor has said that she accepts that her opinions, sympathies, and prejudices will affect her rulings. Could it be that her time as a leader of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, a fine organization, provides a clue as to her decision against the firefighters?” Sessions said. “It seems to me that… Judge Sotomayor’s empathy for one group of firefighters turned out to be prejudice against the others.”
Pow. (video here)
Of course, Sotomayor has had a little bit of a "confirmation conversion" when it comes to following the law and not making law... Bench Memos has a copy of her opening statement where she tries to calm conservative fears of her liberal judicial activist past.
But what IS interesting is what's been happening elsewhere. Specifically, what the liberal attack machine is ginning up.
Remember Frank Ricci? You know, the white firefighter who sued his city for not promoting him after passing a test designed to see who got promoted...who lost his appeal to the 2nd Circuit (and Sotomayor)...and just won in the US Supreme Court?? Well, now he's under attack by the liberals and their media machine:
WASHINGTON — Supporters of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor are quietly targeting the Connecticut firefighter who's at the center of Sotomayor's most controversial ruling.
On the eve of Sotomayor's Senate confirmation hearing, her advocates have been urging journalists to scrutinize what one called the "troubled and litigious work history" of firefighter Frank Ricci. ...
On Friday, citing in an e-mail "Frank Ricci's troubled and litigious work history," the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way drew reporters' attention to Ricci's past. Other advocates for Sotomayor have discreetly urged journalists to pursue similar story lines. ...
The 35-year-old Ricci was the lead plaintiff in the case Ricci v. DeStefano, challenging New Haven's refusal to promote white firefighters after African-American and all but one Hispanic firefighters failed to score high enough on a promotion exam. ...
So why, oh why, do you suppose the liberals are now making such an issue of attacking Ricci? Because he's on the witness list during the hearings this week, that's why. Read on:
With his awards for bravery, some 17 years of fire department service and history of overcoming dyslexia, Ricci has become a compelling human character in the Sotomayor confirmation drama. Senate Republicans have summoned him, along with Lt. Ben Vargas of the New Haven Fire Department, as two of their 14 witnesses next week.
Though even Republicans concede Sotomayor appears poised to win confirmation, the hearing — and Ricci's part in them — could be exploited politically. The case is symbolic of race-based preferences, which conservatives have long rejected.
"Affirmative action remains a potentially useful issue for the GOP," Rose noted, and "this case has the potential of perhaps mobilizing the Republican party again."
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina added that many Americans can identify with Ricci, making him an especially attractive witness for the GOP and potentially dangerous for Democrats.
Which is exactly why the liberals are getting ready to dump everything they can on him. So much for being the party of the little guy, huh?
* Michelle Malkin: Day One: Spotlight on Sotomayor
* Stop the ACLU: Sotomayor's selective empathy
* Bench Memos: Two thoughts on Sotomayor