Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Sotomayor Knows Her Nunchuks

Whatever you may think about Sonia Sotomayor's judicial philosophy, give her this: The woman knows her nunchuks.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) discovered this when he questioned the Supreme Court nominee this morning. "Doesn't your decision in Maloney mean that virtually any state or local weapons ban would be permissible?" he asked.

"Sir, in Maloney, we were talking about nunchuk sticks," the judge explained.

"I understand," said the senator.

"Those are martial arts sticks," Sotomayor added.

Hatch did not want to appear to be a ninja newbie. "Two sticks bound together by rawhide or some sort of a -- "

"Exactly," the nominee said. "And when the sticks are swung, which is what you do with them, if there's anybody near you, you're going to be seriously injured, because that swinging mechanism can break arms, it can bust someone's skull."

"Sure," Hatch said breezily. He wasn't about to get into a fight with somebody so knowledgeable in the martial arts.

As it happens, Sotomayor is also an expert in swinging mechanisms other than nunchuks. The first questioner, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, asked her to talk about a fellow who swings from trees in the jungle.

"One of the most important cases you worked on was the prosecution of the man known as the Tarzan Burglar," the senator said. "He terrorized people in Harlem. He would swing on ropes into their apartments and rob them and steal, and actually killed three people."

"The Tarzan murderer case," the judge said, "brought to life for me in a way that perhaps no other case had fully done before the tragic consequences of needless deaths. In that case, Mr. Maddicks was dubbed 'the Tarzan murderer' by the press because he used acrobatic feats to gain entry into apartments. In one case, he took a rope, placed it on a pipe on top of a roof, put a paint can at the other end, and threw it into a window in a building below and broke the window. He then swung himself into the apartment and, on the other side, shot a person he found."

After a more detailed description of the case, Leahy commented: "Obviously, the Tarzan case was unique."

Her experience with swinging objects such as nunchuks and Tarzan were undoubtedly stressful. This pressure -- along with the pressure of sitting through days of Senate Judiciary Committee testimony knowing that one slip of the tongue could doom an otherwise secure appointment -- could account for Sotomayor's extraordinary blink rate this morning.

When Leahy asked her to explain her controversial remark about the superior judgment of a "wise Latina woman," she blinked no fewer than 247 times during her answer. When Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) asked her about the same remark, she blinked an additional 146 times. Her overall blink rate, measured in BPM, or blinks per minute, appeared to be between 90 and 100. Sessions asked her about her ruling in the Ricci case on racial preferences. She blinked another 121 times.

Will Supreme Court ethics rules allow her to sign a sponsorship deal with Visine for some product placement on the bench?

By Dana Milbank  | July 14, 2009; 1:38 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The President Packs the Press Corps
Next: Don't Mess With Sotomayor


Dan, you conservative shill, how dare you accuse her of having an excessive blink rate! Are you implying that a "wise Latina woman" has a higher blink rate than a white male? Or is it her femaleness that is the culprit. How dare you imply that her blink rates are any different than anyone elses!

Posted by: ronjaboy | July 14, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Dana, Maybe all Supreme Court Justices should have to be observed by Dr. Cal Lightman, of "Lie To Me." That way, Judge Sotomayor's eyeblinks can be properly interpreted.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 14, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Correction: Maybe all Supreme Court NOMINEES should have to be observed by Dr. Cal Lightman, of "Lie To Me." That way, Judge Sotomayor's eyeblinks can be properly interpreted.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 14, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Blink rate can have to do with stress, being in front of bright lights or being interrogated by antagonistic people in front of a large public audience and being on nationwide TV.

I see a higher than average blink rate but that's because she's speaking all the time. I also notice people behind her blinking a lot.

People do blink more when they are thinking and speaking and concentrating on their speech. I see some of the Senators with similar blink rates.

They should be put in the same position.

Posted by: AlanGoldberg54 | July 14, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Oh my god, the Milbank stoopid, it burns, it burns!!! Please make Dana stop! Is there no topic too important for Millbank to trivialize and condescend to with his unique, "I'm such a dick" style?

Please, please, please, somebody make Milbank disappear forever from our national discourse, he is aiding and abetting idiocy in a town that overflows with the stuff.

Posted by: mateosf | July 14, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Blink rate? Granted, there's a thin line between being funny and juvenile. But blink rate? Milbank obviously needs to be writing fewer columns.

Posted by: thepoorehouse | July 14, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

She and Nancy Pelosi should have a blink off.

Posted by: Mauckjw | July 14, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Apparently, only John McCain and other POWs will recognize the Morse code message that she was blinking. "Pay no attention to anything I say. I am being tortured."

Posted by: hlabadie | July 14, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

How about all of Sarah Palin's winkin' 'n' blinkin' ('n' nod)?

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 14, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe you get paid for this stuff. Oh wait, this is the Washington Post, of course I can believe it.

Posted by: swallen1 | July 14, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

God Bless Mrs. Sotomayor for enduring the bullying of the repubs. God Bless our President and his team for working so hard to help right our country after the 8 years of heaven knows WHAT! I'm the person now wearing a tee shirt with a peace sign, just like young Malia.

Posted by: nellie3ster | July 14, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Milbank, Let me be the first to say that I am extremely happy that Mr. HiHat opted to keep you and your incredible wit on at Post and got rid of the boring ol' Froomkin guy.

Posted by: Rasputin1 | July 14, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Dana great work with this important article about blinking.

I'm sorry I missed your piece about how fast Katherine Weymouth was blinking when she got caught pimping access to the Washington Post with her health care "salon."

Posted by: HughBriss | July 14, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe Froomkin was fired and this clown is still given space to publish his unfunny inanities.

Posted by: alarico | July 14, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm confused. What do these two items have to do with... uh... anything?

Posted by: NobodyInParticular1 | July 14, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I want back the twenty seconds of my life it took to read garbage twice to be sure I was not missing something .

Posted by: borntoraisehogs | July 14, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Is there anyone who has ever enjoyed a Dana Millbank column ......ever?

Seriously? This woman is about to be confirmed to the supreme court and I'm reading a column about blink counts? This guy is essential to WAPO staff???

It's one thing to write a weekly column of pompus condensention about petty trivialities with less insight than Maureen Dowd. It's another thing when it recieves headline status with the Washington Post.

Then again, maybe that doesn't surprise me at all.

Posted by: jbanks979 | July 14, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

counting blinks is childish and obviously, you are. Anyone who is listening to what Sotomayor is saying would not have time to count. Sessions Hatch & Kyl sounded like wind-up jerks.

Posted by: mstratas | July 14, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

What a stupid and inane column. Do they actually PAY Milbank to write this stuff???

Posted by: angela7174 | July 14, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

How many SCOTUS judges does it take to 'change' a lightbulb? ... 4 1/2 evidently.

Posted by: deepthroat21 | July 14, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Was Orrin Hatch asking if she favored swinging? In that case, blinking is the equivalent of foot-tapping.

Posted by: hlabadie | July 14, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Gee, I thought the blinking might have to do with all the photographers setting off their flashes, etc - but that's not nearly so interesting a story. Hmmm. I think Milbank needs to go out and find a real story - preferably something that nobody else is working to death as well.

Posted by: dblevin | July 14, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

milbank is clearly smart. but why the wp chooses to publish this smug and trivial column is a mystery. let him be a hit on the dc cocktail circuit if he wants. must you continue to debase your enterprise in the process?

Posted by: profu | July 14, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

i thought the article was really insightful. i must have blinked 562 times just reading these stupid comments about how stupid the article was. people bored at work much?

Posted by: kevin_22879 | July 14, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Just stop reading this idiot's stuff & maybe he'll go away. I did.

Posted by: edwgo | July 14, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

I suggest Sottomayor bring some nunchucks to tomorrow's session and show Hatch how a wise Latina would use them.

Posted by: maggots | July 14, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

It's hard not to blink excessively when you have TV lights glaring and flashes going off in your face. What a stupid observation!

Posted by: CrzKat | July 14, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Wow, the fever swamp is in full effect. My favorite was this one.

Just stop reading this idiot's stuff & maybe he'll go away. I did.

Posted by: edwgo | July 14, 2009 8:22 PM

Err...I think you just read the "idiot" and saw fit comment. Does cognitive dissonance bother you much?

Posted by: Mauckjw | July 14, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Mauckjw, respect! After reading these comments, I fear for this nation!

Posted by: ABHFGTY | July 14, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Very, very provocative article below about Sotomayor's controversial judicial philosophy and the "Wise Latina" comment.

"Through the Sonia Sotomayor Looking Glass"

Posted by: supreme22 | July 15, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Blink rate, what an interesting concept! I wonder what Senator Larry Craig's blink rate was when he was tapping his foot under the airport stall . . . I also wonder if it increased when he found out he was hitting on an undercover cop. I'm sure he'll cover that in his next moronic article.

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

Sonia Sotomayor is a racist

Posted by: hclark1 | July 15, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Why does Washingtonpost still allow him to write columns?

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

I understand she is planning on outlawing baseball and softball bats because when they are swung they can break and arm or crush a head...oh my gawd how did we allow such crude weapons get let loose on the streets?

I understand she has her staff starting research on golf clubs.

When is there going to be serious discussion on her skills, past performance, and knowledge of Constitutional Law. I think we avoid it because we know she has done nothing in the field. We could at least ask her if she has read any SCOUS decisons?

Posted by: staterighter | July 15, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

We have finished work on Sotomayor's robot replacement and it will be ready tomorrow. She will look identical to the judge and have a perfectly average blink rate. She will answer all questions correctly and with perfect political pitch.

Do not be alarmed.

It has been mentioned in the course of these proceedings that if a justice's life experiences weren't necessary in deciding cases that the job could be done by a computer. We aim to put that idea to the test.

Do not be alarmed.

Her blink rate will be perfect. Her intonation will be perfect. Her judgments will be perfect. She will be the perfect judge, blinking perfectly. She will not take her shoes off in session. She will be perfect. This is all being done for your good. Today the Supreme Court, tomorrow the world.

Do not be alarmed.




Posted by: treetopflyer | July 15, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse


This kind of foolishness may bring down the crowd at the annual Skull & Bones retreat.

But what in the name of Secret Societies and the Juvenile Punks Who Comprise Them does the number of times a judge blinks her eyes have to do with the law, the Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court, or valid news coverage?

You get the picture, boy? Or do you need someone to cuff you upside the head and kick you in the backside, figuring that some semblance of brain ought to be struck in one of those two regions?

Posted by: MarkinJC | July 15, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Does this guy get paid for this?

Posted by: arriolg | July 15, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

I really can't believe even that ethically devoid Katharine Weymouth pays you to write this drivel. Seems Lally's daughter is dumber than at first and second and even third glance.

Posted by: MarkinJC | July 15, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

dana milbank, u are either an idiot OR trying to be funny and failing miserably. what's wrong with washington post nowadays? ur reporters seem to be trailing upstarts like huffingtonpost. i think your reporters are getting old and tired and just out of touch and maybe not getting paid very well. it shows in this piece.

Posted by: harrytam | July 15, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company