It appears that today, the third day of Republican grilling of Judge Sotomayor, will once again focus on those horrible, unnatural, non-human life experiences, empathy and “what’s in your heart,” that no self-respecting judge should ever be caught with.
This appears to be the case from listening to dealing-with-disabilities-is-a-game-of-golf Cornyn, who is presently grilling Sotomayor on speeches she made five, ten years ago.
(By the way, Cornyn is so interested in Sotomayor’s views that when she tries to expand on them, he interrupts her, or tries to move on to his next gotcha.)
As expected, Maureen Dowd had some appropriate reflections on this new Republican phenomenon—new, because it has developed since they confirmed Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and John Roberts to the highest Court, notwithstanding the admissions by these gentlemen that they, too, had such terribly disqualifying flaws.
In this morning’s “White Man’s Last Stand,” Dowd first points to the aforementioned gotchas:
A wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not know that a gaggle of white Republican men afraid of extinction are out to trip her up.
She then discusses a very interesting phenomenon. That, in order to gain the approval from this club of wise white men, it has become necessary for a living, breathing, human being (especially a woman of color) to tone down—even deny—her life experiences, her empathy, her feelings, “what’s in her heart.”
The judge’s full retreat from the notion that a different life experience is valuable was more than necessary and somewhat disappointing. But, as any clever job applicant knows, you must obscure as well as reveal, so she sidestepped the dreaded empathy questions…
She even used a flat tone when talking about the “horrific tragedy” of 9/11, when she was living near the World Trade Center. And she was mechanical in explaining to a grumpy Senator Orrin Hatch that banning nunchaku sticks did not dent the Second Amendment because the martial-arts weapons’ swing “can bust someone’s skull.”
In what has become a theater of the absurd, even Democratic Senators had to pose questions and make comments to try to—for lack of a better word—“dehumanize” the judge.
Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer gamely tried to make the judge seem even more coldhearted. Recalling the sad plight of poor families from the Bronx who sued T.W.A. after a jet crashed off Long Island in 1996, he quoted the Bronx jurist’s dispassionate dissent: “The appropriate remedial scheme for deaths occurring off the United States coast is clearly a legislative policy choice, which should not be made by the courts.”
Schumer also cited the case of an African-American woman who filed suit after being denied a home-equity loan, even after the loan application was conditionally approved based on her credit report.
Sotomayor went along and explained “with an iciness that must have sent a chill up the conservative leg of Alabama’s Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III” : “The law requires some finality.”
The only thing I disagree with Dowd is on the type of sensation that Sessions must have experienced. I must believe that Sotomayor’s icy remarks probably sent a warm, tingling thrill up Sessions’ leg.
I have a solution to this empathy, life experience, gender and race “problem”
Let’s replace all nine Supreme Court judges with robots, machines, computers.
Let’s wire them and program them with Boolean decision-making logic, feed them with the Constitution, laws, precedents, etc., etc. (memory is no problem these days), and merely let them, as has been suggested, call “balls and strikes.”
And most of all, let’s do away with this farce called “Confirmation Hearings.”
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.