Wednesday, July 15, 2009
By Anthony Bialy
A reality show about, sigh, soon-to-be-confirmed Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings would be too dull for even Al Gore’s television station, if that’s possible. While her anti-nunchuk rant may have infuriated each and every ninja in the Senate, most of her statements have been Wonder Bread-bland. She’s ironically depicting herself as being more inoffensive than an Osmond.
Of course, this stands as remarkably sudden turnaround for the nominee: she’s instantly become unerringly sympathetic to those who support gun rights, has remained partly coy on the decidedly straightforward subject of abortion, and abruptly claims that her complexion doesn’t make her wiser.
But she’s flipped into tedious mode for a reason: the candidate is applying for a sweet gig. Sotomayor is undergoing a job interview, and she’s naturally going to be either positive or vague about her qualifications in the hope that the hiring managers won’t notice her rising red flags. She’s attempting nothing more than to gloss over her résumé’s rough patches. The native of the, let me double-check, Bronx is doing everything she can to downplay her infamous alleged richness of experience.
After all, Supreme Court Justice is a recession-proof job no matter what else President Obama unleashes on the poor economy. It comes with other benefits, too: the occupation currently pays $208,100 per year, offers a long summer recess, and requires no travel or heavy lifting. And, it’s of course a career for life once you land it.
Justice Samuel Chase was impeached but not removed in 1805; he was the first and last person to face an attempted banishment. At this point, a judge would have to get caught selling meth to war orphans on the court’s steps to put his or her employment status in danger.
It’s steady work during a time when the phrase “government job” may soon become redundant. Even better for Sotomayor, none of her bizarre decisions can be overturned by the Supreme Court if she’s herself on it; at worst, she’ll only find herself voting in the minority. This post would remove her chance of ever again being embarrassed by reversals.
Despite the procedure’s importance, many interviewers have been too busy inking their “HIRED” stamps to ascertain whether the aspirant deserves the post. Most glaringly, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy cut off his New York counterpart Kirsten Gillibrand for sucking up to Sotomayor for too long. The Senate has reached a new low even by its own modest standards when someone like Leahy thinks a colleague is being too fawning toward a perfectly liberal future Court seat-filler.
It’s all dreadful to endure. The most exciting moments of the hearings will continue to be when rudely protesting dunces in the crowd interrupt with shrieks regarding their hostility to her nomination. And even those incidents will only be interesting because of the possibility that the loudmouths might deservedly get pepper-sprayed or tasered.
The only chance for a truly compelling event would be if Republican senators displayed any willingness to stand up for conservative ideals. Namely, they could call out Sotomayor for her obviously ingrained hostility to judicial restraint. That’s especially true in light of her novel claims that she’s now keen about adhering to the Constitution.
Opposition party members could focus on how her recent statements obviously conflict with her record. All they would have to do is highlight Sotomayor’s curious willingness as a member of the judiciary to pass and approve laws; making up policies herself is a type of governmental efficiency we don’t need. Jeff Sessions, Lindsey Graham, and maybe Jon Kyl are at least trying to show that she doesn’t deserve the position despite her salesmanship. But they’re going to end up being a minority of the minority.
Instead, most Republican lawmakers on the whole will lamentably acquiesce during the time between now and the vote. They’ve decided that, since they comprise only one-third of the Senate, the best strategy is to concede and be thankful the applicant isn’t even worse; oddly, they’re acting as if yielding will slingshot them back into power.
Their turnstile mentality means that Sotomayor will succeed in getting promoted from the Court of Appeals despite her evasiveness during the hiring process. The reluctance on the questioners’ part to provoke controversy makes for immensely uninteresting television. Oh, and it also leads to another activist landing on the Supreme Court.
Anthony Bialy is a freelance writer and "Red Eye" Conservative in Western New York