Tuesday, July 28, 2009

GOP Senators Judicious About Their Future

After a week of hearings and a fortnight of soul-searching, Republican Judiciary Committee members will vote today against confirming Sonia Sotomayor to protect the Supreme Court from activist judges--and save their own hides from the vengeance of The Base when they face reelection.

With the possible exception of Lindsey Graham, who is teetering toward approval, the minority is expressing no doubts about Judge Sotomayor's qualifications but terror over her possible excess of empathy.

Joining the parade of naysayers yesterday, Chuck Grassley explained that the nominee would not assuage a Souter-like feeling in "the pit of my stomach": "I was not convinced that Judge Sotomayor understands the rights given to Americans under the Constitution, or that she will refrain from expanding or restricting those rights based on her personal preferences."

Translation: Grassley's intestinal barometer tells him that voting no is much safer than having to explain approval of an Obama nominee with iffy demographics and temperament.

Yesterday ranking minority member Jeff Sessions wrote in an USA Today OpEd: "I don’t believe that Judge Sotomayor has the deep-rooted convictions necessary to resist the siren call of judicial activism. She has evoked its mantra too often.”

After the siren calls, mantras and stomach pains have subsided, Sonia Sotomayor will be confirmed by the full Senate with only a handful of Republican votes in what used to be a relatively nonpartisan process.

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