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Don't Mess With Sotomayor

It is becoming increasingly clear that you do not want to get crosswise with Sonia Sotomayor.

Yesterday, the nominee to the high court showed a frightening familiarity with martial arts. This morning, she spoke of going home and getting a gun.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) made this unsettling discovery as he questioned the nominee about the second amendment and self defense. "If the threat was in this room, 'I'm going to come get you,'" the judge said, and "if I go home, get a gun, come back and shoot you, that may not be legal."

"You'll have lots of 'splainin' to do," replied Coburn, channeling Ricky Ricardo as he addressed the first Hispanic nominee to the Supreme Court.

"I'd be in a lot of trouble then," Sotomayor acknowledged. In fairness, she did say that "I don't want anybody to misunderstand what I'm trying to say."

Perhaps. But Coburn, an almost certain "no" vote, might want to ponder the consequences of taking on this product of the Bronx.

Even before the nominee threatened to shoot him, Coburn was having some difficulty gathering his thoughts -- as when he questioned the nominee about abortion. "Let's say I'm 38 weeks pregnant," the Oklahoman proposed, "and we discover a small spina bifida sack on the lower sacrum, the lower part of the back on my baby, and I feel like I just can't handle a child with that. Would it be legal in this country to terminate that child's life?"

"I can't answer that question in the abstract," the nominee replied, "because I would have to look at what the state of the state's law was on that question."

Not to mention the state of the state's law on pregnant men.

Whatever Coburn was smoking, Sotomayor wanted to make clear to the panel that she had not provided it. When the next questioner, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) asked her for her views on privacy, the nominee chose to discuss a case involving pot. "I'm not an expert in marijuana growing," she said, "but apparently, when you're growing marijuana, there's certain heating lights that you need." Apparently.

For the most part, however, the drug of choice for people watching today's confirmation hearing would have to be caffeine. Members of the Judiciary Committee seemed to be showing how green they could be. Their model of questioning: reduce, reuse, recycle.

Republicans reduced her speeches to caricatures. Democrats reused the same softball questions their colleagues used the day before. And the nominee recycled her old answers.

The only variable, in fact, was the creative ways Democrats found to praise the nominee. And, because there are six Democratic questioners and only two Republicans today, there are plenty of opportunities for praise.

"I was talking with some friends in Providence when I was home about your nomination, and I said it actually gives me goosebumps to think about the path that has brought you here today," offered Whitehouse. "And they said, 'no, no, no, no, you can't say goosebumps. You have to say piel de gallina.'"

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn), so late in the order that virtually all forms of flattery had been exhausted, praised the nominee's mother, sitting in the first row. "I've been focusing on how patient your mother has been through this whole thing, because I ran into her in the restroom just now, and I can tell you, she has a lot she'd like to say," Klobuchar said. "She has plenty of stories that she would like to share about you. I thought I might miss my questioning opportunity."

The warmth coming from the Democrats was so intense that it overwhelmed the hearing room's electrical system. A few minutes after noon, a power surge caused the lights to brighten in the room and the air conditioning to shut off. Within 20 minutes, the temperature had jumped from 74 degrees to 77 degrees, and ominous thumps were heard outside.

"You've probably heard some banging," Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) announced, informing everybody that "the air conditioning has gone out."

Either that or the nominee had followed through on her threat to Coburn. Ominously, the Oklahoma senator is, at this writing, nowhere to be seen.

By Dana Milbank  | July 15, 2009; 12:41 PM ET
 
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Comments

And what's the deal with the woman's baggy eyes. Isn't that a sign of alcoholism? She looks like she has just come off a weekend bender.

Posted by: Baltimore11 | July 15, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Does Milbank really get paid to write this puerile drivel? How do I apply?

Posted by: roger321 | July 15, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

And what's the deal with Baltimor11's writing? S/he writes like s/he is in the middle of a bender.

Posted by: nicekid | July 15, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Her eyes are obviously bleary from dealing with all of the dumb questions from the stupid old white male Republicans...

Posted by: fbeseler | July 15, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Sort of makes you wonder just how she really got that broken ankle.

Posted by: hlabadie | July 15, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

The reason Tom Coburn has difficulty gathering his thoughts is that they are so few and so far between. This is the guy who said his conversations with John Ensign regarding Ensign's extra-marital affair were covered by doctor patient privilege. Coburn is an OB-GYN, so either he doesn't know what he's talking about (again) or there is more to John Ensign than meets the eye.

Posted by: kguy1 | July 15, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Great column. Funny.

Posted by: wmw4 | July 15, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Sonia Sotomayor is a racist

Posted by: hclark1 | July 15, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse


Sotomayor's eyes are tired. She's tired. I'm tired. Dana is tired. Those G***amned Republicans on the committee are really tired.

Can we just vote her in and go home to our families? Who comes up with these idiotic "gotcha" questions? Like any case before SCOTUS is going to be decided off the cuff anyways?

Grand
Old
Pity

Learn how to spell it and say it.

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | July 15, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

To make this more exciting I ask all Bible-thumping yahoos to scream "BABY KILLER!" from the back of the room every 15 minutes. Now that would jazz it up a bit.

Posted by: hayden1 | July 15, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Whoa. Did Coburn REALLY say, "You'll have lots of 'splainin' to do," in a Ricky Ricardo voice? Unbelievable.

Posted by: ishkabibbleA | July 15, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Dana, please. You are taking far too much creative latitude.

Sotomayor didn't threaten to shoot Coburn, and from her statements, we don't know if she knows how to use nunchaku sticks. At best, she has an elementary view of what they are and how dangerous the are (or aren't).

These discussions have centered on the 2A, and more particularly, the 14A. Sotomayor has been incredibly elusive about these issues. For the most part, she's refusing to answer and biding her time until the vote comes. She'd rather appear vacuous than incorrect, I suppose.

Posted by: ambiguae | July 15, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Jude Sotomayor is eminently qualified and has been selected (under the provisions of our sacred constitution) by the president. The senate is to advise and either consent or not. The absolutely STUPID position of the Republican senator hypocrites is painfully obvious. S**t or get off the pot. Spare us the silly melodrama. IF any of these MEN had any pretension of integrity, it has been lost in the sage of Ensign and Sanford. Get it over with and quickly. She will be a great justice of the Supreme Court and Barack Obama is to be congratulated for finding and selecting her. I am a MAN and NOT Hispanic or Black. In fact, I am one of those rare, minority species called a WHITE ANGLO SAXON PROTESTANT (aka WASP) and I am thrilled to see the arrival of my fellow non-WASP American citizens on the political scene, where they have the absolute RIGHT and RESPONSIBILITY to be - and to prove over time how much MORE they can contribute to the history and evolution of the great American democratic experience. AMEN.

Posted by: umbriadan | July 15, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

im just to sick of the story. just give her the job already her story her story i guess if someone ever needs to be the president or on the supreme court if you have sob sad story your in its like a bad soup opera that just wont end

Posted by: getsix1 | July 15, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

we are a republic not a democracy

Posted by: getsix1 | July 15, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

It is disingenuous for Mr. Milbank to suggest that Judge Sotomayor threatened to shoot Sen. Coburn. Sen. Coburn asked a hypothetical question about him threatening her, and her getting a gun and shooting him. The whole question stemmed from his own prompt - not Judge Sotomayor being "from the Bronx" or any other thing. I wish Mr. Milbank brought a more honest context to his reporting.

Posted by: gannonlong | July 15, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

getsix1 apparently doesn't know the meaning of either word.

Benjamin Franklin, just finished helping write the Constitution of the United States of America said that the nation was "a democracy in a republic."

So there. We're not one or the other, and to suggest the two terms are exclusive is evidence of a troubling, anti-American belligerent ignorance.

Posted by: 1EgoNemo | July 15, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

And what's the deal with the woman's baggy eyes. Isn't that a sign of alcoholism? She looks like she has just come off a weekend bender.

Posted by: Baltimore11 | July 15, 2009 1:17 PM
_____________________________________

Being drunk is a sign of alcoholism. Having bags under your eyes is not. Posting ludicrous extrapolations and baseless slander is a sign of acute doofusism.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | July 15, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Sotomayor showed the Republicn senators that she can eat them for lunch, and still be deferential. Re bags under her eyes, she studied hard all her life to be better than her white privileged classmates. 17 years as judge can give anyone bags under the eyes. Waht's important is that Sotomayor is brilliant, intelligent, knowledgeable which not what we can say for the idiotic senators.

Posted by: mstratas | July 15, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

A form of government in which power is explicitly vested in the people, who in turn exercise their power through elected representatives. Today, the terms republic and democracy are virtually interchangeable, but historically the two differed. Democracy implied direct rule by the people, all of whom were equal, whereas republic implied a system of government in which the will of the people was mediated by representatives, who might be wiser and better educated than the average person. In the early American republic, for example, the requirement that voters own property and the establishment of institutions such as the Electoral College were intended to cushion the government from the direct expression of the popular will.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Posted by: trey | July 15, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Sonia Sotomayor is a racist

Many Republicans are trying to score political points by calling Sotomeyer a racist. The comment they make is “suppose I said that White males can make better judgments.” First of all the term racist doesn’t apply here. Latina(o) doesn’t refer to a racial group. It refers to a wide collection of groups that are only connected by a common language (kind of like Americans, British and Canadians). They can be Cuban, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Dominican, Bolivian to name a few. These groups don’t necessarily identify with each other and sometimes don’t even like each other that much. They can also be black, white, native american, or mixtures of each of these. Thus it is totally inappropriate to refer to Sotomeyer as a racist (actually appears to me that she is mostly white). If anything her remarks may represent ethnocentrism. Gee, how many American are guilty of that

Posted by: browneri | July 15, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe that no one has called Coburn on making such a racially insensitive comment as "You'll have lots of 'splainin' to do." Did he think he was being funny? It just shows how completely clueless members of the GOP are about issues of ethnicity and identity.

Posted by: Lamentations | July 15, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

This is the worst-written article I've read in a long time. The first half of it is totally incomprehensible.

Posted by: _virginian_ | July 15, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

mstratas wrote:
Re bags under her eyes, she studied hard all her life to be better than her white privileged classmates.

################

It's comments like this that make me realize how you people think. That is, you seem to think that all white people in law school are "privileged." I went to a school at which I could have been Sotomayor's classmate, but let me tell you, I paid for every cent of it myself with loans and merit-based scholarships. How is that "privileged?"

Posted by: _virginian_ | July 15, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

38 weeks pregnant? That's 9.5 months. C'mn Coburn!

Posted by: nwachai | July 15, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

And what's the deal with the woman's baggy eyes. Isn't that a sign of alcoholism? She looks like she has just come off a weekend bender.

Posted by: Baltimore11 | July 15, 2009 1:17 PM
---------------
Baltimore11 is clearly huffing the Krylon.

Posted by: hayden1 | July 15, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

would have been more impressed with her had she acknlowedged the statments she made were wrong and she has had a change of mind instead of trying to get around it by giving the impression OTHERS misunderstood her words... these words are dcumented on video at least six times that we know of and one can only guess how many mor times she has used what she obviously believes.

her rulings might not reflect her beliefs but she made sure she impressed upon the minds of thousands to put race first.

THE WAY TO SOLVE RACISM IS NOT TO PRACTICE RACISM. IT IS TO USE EVERY OPPORTUNITY YOU ARE GIVEN TO BE FAIR AND THE ONLY WAY TO BE FAIR IS TO BE FAIR, TO ALL.

Posted by: ChooseBestCandidate | July 15, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Coburn is such a d!ck. If Ricky were still alive, he beat Coburn's a*** and make him say 'Lucy!'.

Posted by: Patriot3 | July 15, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

When is anyone going to bring us her lack of qualifications as a Constitutional Law jurist? What papers has she written on Constitutional Law? What analysis of past SCOUS decisions has she presented? Why hasn't she argued a case before the SCOUS? I am tired of hearing of her love for Nancy Drew, or her mother's patience, or her cases regarding martial arts weapons. I want to know what makes her and her supporters think she is a qualified Constitutional Law expert....We won't see or hear it because she is not, she is a trial judge. Americans suffer because of politics.

Posted by: staterighter | July 15, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Does one have to be stupid to be a Republican or do just stupid Repubs write comments? It is so painful to have to wade thought thoughtless comments when writers are trying to have an intellectual discussion.

Posted by: lswonder | July 15, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

If only Froomkin was as vacuous as Milbank he'd still be employed by the Post, no doubt.

Posted by: hairguy01 | July 15, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

earlier Judge Sotomayor had stated her belief that the 2nd amendment may not apply to the states, in order words, states can be free to ban weapons as they choose, establish whatever restrictions they want on guns, etc....but no one seems to have made the connection that if the 2nd amendment does not apply to the states (where she gets this idea, i have not a clue), then by her logic the other amendments in the bill of rights also may not apply to the states: such as states may apply their death penalty laws however they choose (with no intervention from the federal courts), states may restrict what newspapers or radio may say (dump that lst amendment out the window), states may chop off the hands of robbers like the saudis do (chuck that 8th amendment on cruel and unusual out the window, since it does not apply to the states),, by her comment that the 2nd amendment does NOT apply to the states, she seems to have opened the door to an argument that the entire Bill of rights does NOT apply to the states..which not even Scalia or Thomas would be arguing...

Posted by: RoguesPalace | July 15, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I find it interesting people call her a racist for her "wise Latina" remark but not sexist. Seems to me it's more sexist than racist - and I love it! That stupid Ricky Ricardo remark was 100 times more racist or ethnicist (whatever) than anything Sotomayor has said and Coburn should be mortified. So inappropriate - AND revealing.

Posted by: deltadelta | July 15, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

would have been more impressed with her had she acknlowedged the statments she made were wrong and she has had a change of mind instead of trying to get around it by giving the impression OTHERS misunderstood her words... these words are dcumented on video at least six times that we know of and one can only guess how many mor times she has used what she obviously believes.

her rulings might not reflect her beliefs but she made sure she impressed upon the minds of thousands to put race first.

THE WAY TO SOLVE RACISM IS NOT TO PRACTICE RACISM. IT IS TO USE EVERY OPPORTUNITY YOU ARE GIVEN TO BE FAIR AND THE ONLY WAY TO BE FAIR IS TO BE FAIR, TO ALL.

Posted by: ChooseBestCandidate | July 15, 2009 3:53 PM
********************
Meantime, in the real world.

Posted by: sherardg | July 15, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

It may not be legal for Sotomayor to go home, get a gun, and return to shoot Tom Coburn, but it would certainly be understandable.

Posted by: Bob22003 | July 15, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

regarding the bags under the eyes, might not be too much drinking since that is not good for any one with diabetes.., however, the question about growing pot and the lights raises the intersting question of whether Sotomayor likes to toke every so often,, which, if she smokes the weed fairly often, could account for the bloodshot heavy eyelids.,,, my goodness, is a pothead going to the SCOTUS?? pass the bong, Cheech..,, hey where did my wine go? don't know man, i musta fallen asleep a while ago when the TV went off for the night...

Posted by: RoguesPalace | July 15, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

It may not be legal for Sotomayor to go home, get a gun, and return to shoot Tom Coburn, but it would certainly be understandable.

Posted by: Bob22003 | July 15, 2009 4:24 PM

I couldn't agree more and thanks for making me laugh out loud.

Posted by: mmalewitz | July 15, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Coburn has just signed the death warrants for Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Sarah Palin, George H. Bush, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, and any Republican officeholder from now until 2027 with his comments.

Posted by: bs2004 | July 15, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

That Coburn "splainin" comment would seem ripe for an attack ad come his re-election run.

Posted by: Mauckjw | July 15, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Yo Yo Yo, Soni frum da Bronix.

Posted by: whocares666 | July 15, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

She's also a master of the art of double talk -- just what we need in a judge on the highest court in the land.

I suppose it's official now. Bigotry is okay just so long as it's directed at the right people. It's not as if that wasn't abundantly clear enough already though.

Party on, Amerika!

Posted by: patrick3 | July 15, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

No wonder the WaPo newspaper business is such a shambles. This is one of the most egregious stories written by a Post reporter and that is saying quite a lot. Yesterday it was about too much blinking by the candidate for the Supreme Court and today it's about her perceived veiled threat to shoot a sitting senator and a remark about marijuana taken completely out of context and made to make her sound ridiculous.

What a mess this newspaper is.

Posted by: dmd1025 | July 15, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Nobody would want to 'mess' with a strong woman, certainly not me. But all women possess passion and love of humanity therefore I am trying to talk with her and here are my words for everyone to see:

Scientists using advanced techniques have found a high technology explosive in verified (chain of possession) random samples of dust produced during and after the WTC complex buildings collapsed after extreme heat undermined the supporting columns. Congress has a duty to debate these findings which have been published in a number of scientific journals in Europe and the United States of America. This I believe is essential to stem the profuse debate on and off line witnessed since the findings were published that reference many inaccuracies and lack of scientific data in the formal and final report produced by NIST and other papers provided by FEMA.

We cannot and must not turn our eyes away from important data that is fermenting rumors and accusations affecting the lives and resolutions of those three thousand family members who lost husbands, wives, brothers, sisters and loved ones killed in this horrific event. Surely as leaders of men and women we must conclude it is shameful and saddening to note that despite official reports and conclusions on the perceived details of 9-11 we are still no closer to a coherent, cohesive and factual account of the events that occurred on that fateful day 11th September 2001.

Mark Golding
Children of Iraq Association
LONDON

Posted by: coiaorguk | July 15, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

@nwachai -

A typical pregnancy runs 40 weeks or 10 months. Coburn knows this - you do not.

James

Posted by: bs2004 | July 15, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

It's comments like this that make me realize how you people think. That is, you seem to think that all white people in law school are "privileged." I went to a school at which I could have been Sotomayor's classmate, but let me tell you, I paid for every cent of it myself with loans and merit-based scholarships. How is that "privileged?"

Posted by: _virginian
**********************

Not all white people, or even most. Just people like Roberts and most other lawyers in powerful corporate positions in our major cities. The other point to remind you is that she got the ride, and still excelled. Really, she's demonstrated this week that she's got such a rare, superior legal mind that it doesn't matter what her back-story is: she's just flat out first rate.

Posted by: abqcleve | July 15, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Mont months, except February, are longer than 4 weeks. So a 40 week gestational period is not 10 months. It's pretty close to 9 months.

Posted by: Luciana1 | July 15, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I have gotten most of what I was about to out of my system by writting it in my blog. It was a rant. But, why the heck did Senator Coburn go all Ricky Ricardo? What does Judge Sotomayor have in common with Ricky Ricardo? Oh yeah, they're both Latinos who stay(ed) in New York. But, in case he did not know, Ricardo was born in Cuba and was a non-native speaker. Judge Sotomayor is Boricua and from New York. But, maybe somehow her Bronx accent reminded him of Ricardo's Cuban one. Umm, no. Perhaps he thought it was funny to dredge up a punchline uttered by a Latino more than 50 years ago? Regardless, I think the jokes need to be left with the comedians. I think it was inappropriate because I somehow doubt he would have come up with a line from Tony Soprano during the confirmation hearing of an Italian jurist. But, maybe I'm just getting sensitive...

Posted by: originalcutie | July 15, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Any student of martial arts knows that even a casual bar fight can end up with serious injury or death. You just walk (or run) away.

So ... all this macho talk from the Post about guns and fighting ... shows these folks know little about guns or fighting.

Posted by: oracle2world | July 15, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

The lady is brillian, but naturally it is very difficult to be admitted by these ignorant and arrogant people questioning her. It is about time the country is
to have an intelligent person in the payroll, amen

Posted by: pacho28 | July 15, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey, don't pick on Dana Milbank. It must take a lot of work to be so superficial and to miss the point so consistently, day after day.

Milbank writes:

In fairness, she did say that "I don't want anybody to misunderstand what I'm trying to say."


Unfortunately, in Mr. Milbank's case, she wasn't very successful. On the other hand, he did point out the continuing tradition of Bible-belting Republican senators carelessly or callously making remarks that anybody with half a brain or less would realize are odd. I bet that if Senator McConnell and his wife former Labor Senator Elaine Chao ever invite him for dinner, he's the life of the party.

Really odd. The Washington Post keeps Dana Milbank and Charles Krauthammer and George Will, but gets rid of Dan Froomkin.

Posted by: edallan | July 15, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

RoguesPalace, re: 2nd Amendment. Look up the Bill of Rights and "Selective Incorporation" on Wikipedia. Your analysis is ill-informed and incorrect. Even Scalia and Thomas would disagree with it.

RE: bags under the eyes. You people are pathetic. It's not only a sign of certain behaviors, it's also a genetically inherited physical trait many people--even when young--have. The simplest explanation (see "occam's razor" in Wikipedia) for her baggy eyes is, uh, she was born with a predisposition to have them.

Criticisms of her hypothetical behaviors or of her physical characteristics sound about right for conservatives who have every reason to want to protect the status quo (White Men in Power). Try substantive analyses.

Sotomayor's record is far less liberal than Roberts's or Alito's were conservative. Any legal scholar will tell you that.

As far as the fact she's been a trial judge, a federal appellate judge, a civil litigator and a prosecutor, I don't think you could say that's a detriment. Perhaps the biggest problem there is w/ the Supreme Court now is how full of self-important yet callow and ignorant men it is. Such men shouldn't be ruling on whether the death penalty should be applied to mentally retarded children or whether a multibillion dollar corporation shouldn't have to face litigation from a woman who lost a child due to their negligence.

Posted by: peripatetic1 | July 15, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

"You'll have lots of 'splainin' to do," replied Coburn.
Coburn cannot see how the court would make better decisions with the addition of a Puerto Rican female than it would if only white haired men, of his ilk, were on the court. My guess is that he would be appalled to find out that his attempt at humor was offensive.
Let the GOP stay in it's pure little ideological cocoon and they will increasingly be irrelevant.

Posted by: gss49 | July 15, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

What are the Judicial Committe Senators trying to do?

Do they want to ascertain if she will be politically correct or if she will abide by the rule of law.

A Judge is expected to be impartial and competent. She should not have to answer hypothetical questions on issues that may come before her because an impartial judge must avoid controversy and maintain their impartiality. These Senators are seeking to brand her so that she falls on their side of the fence or the 'other' side. That is wrong.

The Senators are highly critical of Sotomayor because of her off the cuff statements (such as 'a wise Latina woman'). This simple statement is being blown up out of proportion. Whilst doing this they have exposed themselves as being naive about their own duties when they ask the Judge to hold and express a position on controversial issues (such as abortion).

The enquiry should confine its examination to exposing manifest weaknesses (if any) in her competencies, her judicial behaviour or any other issue that could substantially compromise her standing as a High Court Judge.

The real issue is the inappropriate conduct of the Senators. I hope that Sotomayor takes them to task about their poor understanding of their role and their manifest abuse of their duties. I assume that their failings are attributable to their misconception of their role and the consequences that will flow from it if Sotomayor joins their circus.

Posted by: robertjames1 | July 15, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Sotomajor, a streetwise New Yorker who grew up in the projects, could wipe the floor with any of these pampered, elitist, professional politician millionaires.

Most of them have spent the last few decades getting their butts kissed, being told how great they are and having money showered on them. They have no more connection to the real world of normal Americans than a Martian would.

Posted by: bpai_99 | July 15, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

It's comments like this that make me realize how you people think. That is, you seem to think that all white people in law school are "privileged." I went to a school at which I could have been Sotomayor's classmate, but let me tell you, I paid for every cent of it myself with loans and merit-based scholarships. How is that "privileged?"

Posted by: _virginian

Seriously, you went to Yale law? What year? Look at the ranks of partners at corporate law firms and get back to me on the privilege issue. Considering I'm one of those ethnic minorities that does well on the SAT/LSATs (and got my scholarships from those tests), I can safely say that Asians aren't inherently smarter than white folks by that we are "privileged" in being quite adept at being forced to study for such exams (or are you suggesting that Asians are smarter than whites)?

Quite the problem from your perspective, eh?

Posted by: bhuang2 | July 15, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

In response to _virginian:

The privilege comes post-graduation when certain people apply for jobs at firms and are NEVER questioned as to whether they have the requisite aptitude or ability. The privilege exists when they are fast-tracked to partnership. Certain people are given an automatic presumption that others of a different, darker, browner hue do not receive. There is no privilege when you graduate from law school with excellent grades, but are unable to get the same job because of your hue. So, you go work in the city prosecutor's office because that is what you are fit for. Or you go work at legal aid because that is all you are offered. It is certainly a privilege to work at a first rate firm, but the true privilege is not being grilled about your scholastic aptitude because of your skin. Hence, there lives the privilege that most people of color see, that somehow you do not. Perhaps, it is easier to see the boundaries when they are used to keep you inside...

Posted by: originalcutie | July 15, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Shoot, I wish that I didn't have to 'splain that.

Y sin tener en cuenta los comentarios racistas, el Juez Sotomayor será la Justicia Sotomayor. Esté fuerte. Muchas personas rezan para usted. Felicidades Justice Sotomayor! Felicidades!

Posted by: originalcutie | July 15, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

The only pushover in that senate hearing room was Jeff Sessions...

Posted by: demtse | July 15, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse


I think Judge Sotomayor has demonstrated that she knows the Constitution backwards and forwards over, and over again.

Judge Sotomayor also understands and has demonstrated that she knows with complex detail hundreds and hundreds of court cases, appeals of those cases, and Supreme Court decisions, primarily because she uses those same cases, along with the law as precedent to arrive at her own decisions.

She, and I'm sure all the Senators who are questioning Judge Sotomayor, also understands that there are certain issues that she cannot discuss with the committee due to the possibility that she may hear a similar case, whether it be in the 2nd Circuit or the Supreme Court, (Which is almost certain.) and need to make a decision.

Why do certain Senators continue to grandstand by using their 30 minutes of fame at a bully pulpit to continue to repeat and repeat the same concerns they have been making since her nomination and then asking questions they know can't be answered?

Why? Because they know there are a few NeoCon believing sheep out there who still think she is an intellectual lightweight; a bigot; or simply don't think a Hispanic Woman should be on the Supreme Court; when in fact she will probably be one of the most unbiased, intellectually talented, Justices currently on the bench.

They're fitting her for a black robe right now sheep.

GET OVER IT!


Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | July 15, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Oh, yes, she's gun-savvy - she has a friend who hunts and a distant relative who belongs to the NRA.

Posted by: chatard | July 15, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

So far, from what I've heard of the white male Republicans on that committee, I'd rather trust the judgment of a wise Latina than any of them. But then, I'm a white male so maybe I can't trust my own judgment. My head is starting to hurt.

Posted by: roblimo | July 15, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Good -- I hope she gives that bigot Jeff Sessions a good swift kick in the pants for presuming that all people of Puerto Rican heritage would vote alike as judges. Evidently for Sessions there's no cure for stupid -- he of course was denied his own seat on the Federal bench for wearing his racism on his sleeve.

Posted by: dgblues | July 15, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm from Oklahoma and I use "splanin" a lot in conversation. I also might call a creek a "crik" and oil "oal" or any number of other colloquialisms. Does that make me a racistor a bigot or just plain ol ordinary Oklahoman?

Posted by: PWC0412 | July 15, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

This is the first time in a LONG time I've visited the WaPo. Since they decided to let Dan Froomkin go and increased the Neo-Con contingent of their opinion page, not to mention Mr. Milbank's diva-like attitude toward the White House recognizing Nico Pitney during the height of the Iran Crisis, it just isn't worth my time. However...I thought today I'd see I what the Washington Times (oops, I meant Post) was up to. I won't be back. After reading the garbage above, I have to wonder what the hell has happened to this paper? Milbank is nothing more than a smart ass who thinks his you know what doesn't stink. Well you know what...it does. I'd suggest a career change.

Posted by: mizerello | July 15, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

"An almost certain "no" vote....."
WHO ARE YOU KIDDING?
You can bet the farm that EVERY republican will vote no.
At EVERY chance they get.
OBAMA MUST FAIL.
OBAMA MUST FAIL.
OBAMA MUST FAIL.

America will fail.

Who are you kidding, Milbank?
Who the "F" are you kidding?

Posted by: Tomcat3 | July 15, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone say to Clarence Thomas "You got some expaining to do "boy!"" or even ask Alito (in the way of Marlon Brando) whether he would "Go to the mattresses for the second amendment?". Unfortunately, I think people who wrote the Constitution would likely be appalled by the Old White Boys and their focus on guns and fetusues. Can we sove this dilemma: If it is wrong to kill a feotus, why is not worng to bear arms a kill a rapist who forceably enters your home to do harm to somone. What if you fail to kill the intruder and he impregnates your wife? What does the Constitution say about that? If that person is subsequently caught and tied they may be put to death, but in the Republican world, not the unwanted feotus?

Posted by: ChevyChaseChap | July 15, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

It does seem to me that Milbank has crossed a line saying, "Even before the nominee threatened to shoot him. . ." I don't know exactly how seriously Milbank expects his column to be taken, but even if he just trying to make a wisecrack, I think this is pretty obnoxious (with all the references to Sonia being a native of the Bronx, is the insinuation here: You can take Sonia out of the Bronx, but you can't take the Bronx out of Sonia). Yes, we know parts of the Bronx do have lots of poor hispanics and high murder rates, and Sonia grew up in housing projects, but am I the only one who finds Milbanks "joke" that she was making a death threat against a Senator over the top? Her knowledge of martial arts weapons obviously came from reviewing the law literature on weapons when she had to rule on a case involving such implements, and not (as Milbank insinuates) from the streets of the Bronx. And, as noted by others, her threat to shoot the senator was in response to a hypothetical question posed by the senator-- why not joke about the senator threatening Sonia? I realize this column goes for the one-liners, but lets try to elevate the conversation a bit, Milbank, and stop making fun of Sonia because of where she was born and grew up.

Posted by: tonyribeiro | July 15, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

I am a Latino, a Democrat, a supporter of Judge Sotomayor and I am not offended by Senator Coburn's Ricky Ricardo imitation. It was just a joke. Y'all need to chill a bit.

Posted by: etellechea | July 15, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Are these comments for real??? OF COURSE, Coburn didn't really use a fake Hispanic accent. It's called SARCASM. That's the most insane thing I've ever read - that person after person after person would think that Dana Milbank's (lame-ish) joke was serious. COBURN WOULD BE RUN OUT OF OFFICE IMMEDIATELY. IT WOULD BE ON THE FRONT PAGE. HE'D ALREADY HAVE APOLOGIZED WITH HIS BEST HISPANIC FRIEND STANDING NEXT TO HIM. It didn't happen. The author was joking. I can't believe people keep reacting to that. Also, Virginian, you're totally privileged, and as everybody's pointed out, you sound foolish for saying otherwise.

Posted by: Urnesto | July 15, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

... For the most part, she's refusing to answer and biding her time until the vote comes. She'd rather appear vacuous than incorrect, I suppose.

Posted by: ambiguae | July 15, 2009 2:31 PM

Worked for both Roberts and Alito. The startling thing is that no one had enough confidence to think that Harriet Meirs could have accomplished the same thing.

They should just do away with the political theater of televised, multi-day hearings of the Judiciary Committee. Its not like they change anybody's mind. Its all show, all stupid. The only test should be whether the individual has the maturity not to become an embarrassing freak once confirmed ... whether its an ABA evaluation, FBI background check, or whatever. After that, the President who wins an election should be able to fill the vacancies that randomly arise.

Does anyone believe that someone with the poise of Roberts, Alito, or Sotomayor can't evade (and a courteous and friendly way) questions from a constitutional genius like Senator Coburn or Senator Grassley?

Senator Franken's Perry Mason blather was just about as probing and insightful as anything the minority tried to rehash. Senator Spector was the only one who even got close to interesting questions (and the responses would have been more illuminating if he had just given them to her in advance). The only possible reason that these hearings should have been scheduled for more than a day would have been to educate the viewer. Mission failed.

Posted by: dcsween | July 15, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Why does she insist on saying "Suprene" court?

Posted by: suzystr | July 16, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Is there some reason Sotomayor cannot utter a declarative sentence without interjecting "UM" or "UH" into it? One thing for sure, she will be the most inarticulate Supreme Court justice, and probably the dumbest. What a triumph for the Hispanic community.

Posted by: ChuckCardiff | July 16, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

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