Monday, July 13, 2009

it's an opening

So, I have the Sotomayor confirmation hearing up in a small window. My first take of the day is that Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is a tool. Of course, I already knew that but it’s nice to have your beliefs reaffirmed. Even though Grassley is spouting on about his “review of her judicial record”, I seriously doubt that he’s cracked an opinion written by Sotomayor. Of course, maybe Jon Kyl (R-AZ) is showing himself to be even worse: it’s enlightening that Kyl, in particular, can’t even look directly at Sotomayor during his opening remarks as he twists ideas and throws about the “activist judge” epithet. Sen. Kyl has let us know that “80% of her decisions were either overturned or vacated by the Supreme Court.” Nice number, Kyl, but it’s not true. In Sotomayor’s 11 years on the appeals court she has written the majority opinion in 380 cases. Of those 380 cases the Supreme Court granted cert on five of those cases and overturned three of them. No matter how you slice that up mathematically, the Supreme Court only chose to review less than 3% of those case and overturned three – which is 7/10th of one percent of those in which she wrote the majority opinion; or, one in every 127 cases. If you were to take in consideration the full number of opinions issued by that court – other opinions in which she was in the majority but didn’t write the actual opinion – the number of overturned decisions is probably well less than one-half of one percent. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is now flexing his stellar abilities from the dais. I love this line from Graham, “Does this mean I’m calling you racist? No, it doesn’t.” That’s pretty much like saying to someone, “I would never be one to call you an asshole but others might.” At least Graham has the strength of character to look at Sotomayor as he’s telling her that he wouldn’t throw water on her even if she were on fire. Oops, I had it turned down just now but it sounds like Sen. Leahy (D-VT) just laid some smack down on Graham for being petulant child – now Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has jumped in as big brother and Leahy gives him a whack on the nose. What’s most comedic about any of these hearings is that we have to listen to all the senators pontificating during their opening statements: four hours of blowhards from both sides of the aisle who like to hear themselves speak. I’ll finish off the morning session with Tom Coburn (R-OK) pointing out that the law should not be unpredictable, something that Sotomayor apparently said as some point in her life, according to him. He believes that it shouldn’t matter what judge you draw on a case but the law. He’s essentially saying that every case should be a unanimous decision at any level. By his standard, there’s no need for appeals courts or the Supreme Court because every bit of law is objective – and even if we maintain a Supreme Court, every decisions should be 9-0, preferably always deciding for the corporations and against citizens. Did I say that aloud? Oh, and by the way, if anyone wants to even consider international law as something worthwhile? Well, you can move back to Europe, Frenchie.

One more thing is this headline, unrelated to the hearing, from Yahoo!, “S.F. Zoo's gay penguin couple broken up by female penguin.” I think that’ll open the door to the “anti-gay, it’s a choice” crowd; and in San Francisco of all places.

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