July 13, 2009

Hearings? For whom?

Last night's edition of the CBS Evening News had the show's senior political analyst Jeff Greenfield on to talk about the Judiciary Committee's hearings on Judge Sotomayor's fitness to serve as a Supreme Court Justice. He said something which really struck me as true: these aren't really hearings to elicit the judge's true beliefs about the law. Rather, they're an opportunity for the Senators to play to their political bases.

According to the NYT's The Caucus blog, here's the schedule for today, the first day of the hearings:

Each of the senators will speak, from mostly prepared remarks, beginning at 10 a.m. (The 19 senators are permitted to talk for as long as 10 minutes.)

We likely won’t hear from Judge Sotomayor until about 1:30 or 2 p.m. Ben LaBolt, spokesman for the White House just dropped by to tell us that her opening statement will be about 15 minutes and today’s sessions will probably conclude about 2:30 or 3 p.m.

If the Senators were really serious about asking questions about the nominee, they'd dispense with opening statements and get right to the point. If they did that, though, they'd give up the opportunity to hear themselves talk for 10 minutes on national TV, and, more importantly, lose the opportunity for their constituents to hear them talk about their high-minded philosophies of the law.

It's annoying.

Posted by Linkmeister at July 13, 2009 08:15 AM | TrackBack