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Sotomayor: Hearings Begin at 10 AM ET

The confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor begin this morning in the Senate Judiciary Committee at 10 am ET.

I’ll be doing live coverage as much as possible throughout the hearing process.

The first day is almost always Senator opening statements and an introductory statement from home state Senators. The published schedule from Judiciary for today bears that out as well. Then the SCOTUS candidate gets to make an opening statement that sets the tone for the candidate’s prep work as well as how questions will be answered — or not — and what demeanor we can expect through the bulk of the hearings.

With Roberts, it was "hey, I sure an swell and smart, and you guys really like me" which was pretty much spot on for how the hearings continued, frankly.

Alito was a lot more combative and personal, and defensive. Of course, that set things up nicely for the Huckleberry Graham and the Mrs. Alito sobbing moment, didn’t it?

What we’ll get from Sotomayor today is anyone’s guess.

Not to count the Justice before she’s confirmed, but looking at the full witness list for the hearings, I’d say she’s got the votes for the nomination sown up. The minority witness list is a pitiful mishmash of not much firepower, frankly, which says a lot about what they’ve been able to muster as oppo on her.

Which says to me what we’ll get from Sotomayor is congenial, steady, and as non-controversial milquetoast on the answers as possible to not make any unnecessary waves in the glide to the voting line.

But the thing about live hearings is? You never know.

Especially on the rapid fire Q&A that we’re likely to get from a few of the Senators on the committee. And that could get interesting or at least give glimpses of some interesting stuff.

I’ve seen the Sotomayor hearing as a sort of test run for any number of things, the most important of which is getting a feel for where the GOP strategy on judicial nominations is going to go. At the moment, I’d describe it as an uninterested mishmash of disarray, which has to be driving the Federalist Society types bonzer yo yo.

CAP put together a "conservative myths versus reality" sheet on the most commonly flung GOP arguments that is worth a peek prior to the hearings. Because, right on cue, the NYTimes provides a summary of the GOP Sunday talking head arguments without much refutation of their scanty factual basis. Go figure.

But when the hearing starts, we’ll get a much better picture whether that’s correct. Or whether it was a pre-hearings ruse. And, more importantly in my mind, how it may apply to future federal bench nominations across the board. Or not.

Some resources for today:

— The Senate Democrats have put up a number of informational pieces about Sotomayor.

Senate Judiciary is planning to stream its webcast of the hearings live. And C-Span will have live coverage as well.

The Sunlight Foundation put together a fact sheet on Sotomayor’s rulings, transparency and other issues relating to their work.

SCOTUSblog caught the Brennan Center analysis of Sotomayor as well:

A study by New York University Law School’s Brennan Center for Justice has analyzed 1,194 constitutional cases decided during Judge Sotomayor’s tenure on the Second Circuit and found her to be solidly in the mainstream of the bench. On the Second Circuit, Judge Sotomayor has voted with the majority in 98.2% of constitutional cases and 94% of her constitutional decisions have been unanimous. The Brennan Center’s publication can be downloaded here and the New York Times has a good summary piece here.

It makes for a very interesting read in your spare time.

Daphne has some hints on Sotomayor’s views on executive power gleaned from case reading.

— And Dahlia has some background on the GOP’s star witness, Frank Ricci.

More as I get it throughout the day.

Christy Hardin SmithCommunity

Sneak Peek At The Sotomayor Hearings Which Begin At 10 AM ET

The confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor begin this morning in the Senate Judiciary Committee at 10 am ET.

I’ll be doing live coverage as much as possible throughout the hearing process.

The first day is almost always Senator opening statements and an introductory statement from home state Senators. The published schedule from Judiciary for today bears that out as well. Then the SCOTUS candidate gets to make an opening statement that sets the tone for the candidate’s prep work as well as how questions will be answered — or not — and what demeanor we can expect through the bulk of the hearings.

With Roberts, it was "hey, I sure am swell and smart, and you guys really like me" which was pretty much spot on for how the hearings continued, frankly. 

Alito was a lot more combative and personal, and defensive.  Of course, that set things up nicely for the Huckleberry Graham and the Mrs. Alito sobbing moment, didn’t it?

What we’ll get from Sotomayor today is anyone’s guess.

Not to count the Justice before she’s confirmed, but looking at the full witness list for the hearings, I’d say she’s got the votes for the nomination sown up. The minority witness list is a pitiful mishmash of not much firepower, frankly, which says a lot about what they’ve been able to muster as oppo on her.

Which says to me what we’ll get from Sotomayor is congenial, steady, and as non-controversial milquetoast on the answers as possible to not make any unnecessary waves in the glide to the voting line.

But the thing about live hearings is? You never know. (more…)

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com