So far, the Supreme Court nomination hearings for Sonia Sotomayor seem as placid as expected. Some might even say they are “boring.”
Certainly what little of the hearings I saw this morning before work was anything but riveting. The Q and A back and forth between potentially the first Hispanic woman on the court and Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah appeared as if it was practice for a bar exam.
The senators on the Judiciary Committee – both Republicans and Democrats – are getting their little digs in so they can show the folks back home they are “tough by God.” However, little that is asked raises much that normal folks can get their teeth into and Sotomayor didn’t get to where she is today without learning to evade or turn into legalese such questions.
The one moment I am waiting to see is whether New Haven, Conn., firefighter Frank Ricci testifies as a witness for Republican ranking member Jeff Sessions. Ricci was the lead plaintiff in a reverse discrimination suit over hiring blacks and Hispanics who lacked the scores on a test for promotion to fire department lieutenant.
Sotomayor and a majority of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the city but the case was overturned by a 5-4 majority last month by the Supreme Court.
Since that decision Ricci has been touted by conservative talking heads as a hero for white men everywhere. However, some liberal groups recently began asking media outlets to investigate Ricci’s background in which, it turns out, the firefighter appears to be a serial litigant. His first lawsuit was at 20 when he sued New Haven for not hiring him as a firefighter, claiming the city discriminated against him because he had dyslexia.
Hatch mentioned what he called a “smear campaign” against Ricci today. He sought and received assurances from Sotomayor that she had no hand in such a campaign.
Nevertheless, and regardless of how you feel about discrimination or affirmative action, the fact that some of the far right chose Ricci to be their poster boy to blacken the eyes of President Obama’s first judicial pick is one more example of how the right wing seems to be puttering about on a rudderless ship.
Everyone should have the common sense to know that in politics, people who live in glass houses shouldn’t store thrones, or throw stones even. This time it seems as if the liberal supporters of the high court nominee has come with a stock pile of rocks.