The Sotomayor confirmaiton hearings begin again this morning at 9:30 am ET. I’ll be liveblogging them as they begin.

Surfing around the various news and opinion pages this morning, it’s hard to miss the theme that’s emerging among the Beltway talking head set.

First, Dan Balz:

With the outcome almost a foregone conclusion, there may be more for Republicans to lose than for Democrats to gain this week. Facing a demographic shift of significant proportions that threatens to keep them in minority status well into the future, their challenge will be to remain true to their principles while demonstrating that they are mindful that their party must adapt to a changing country. "

And Peter Baker and Neil Lewis in the New York Times:

The start of hearings on President Obama’s nomination of Judge Sotomayor, who would be the first Hispanic and third woman to sit on the Supreme Court, was permeated with electoral politics, with Republicans taking pains not to offend Hispanic voters even as they sought to assure conservatives that they were vigorously challenging Judge Sotomayor and Mr. Obama on ideological grounds.

The session also quickly became a proxy for a larger struggle over the court. At times, it seemed the hearing was devoted more to refighting past battles and setting the stage for future ones, a recognition that barring an unforeseen development, Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation seems assured in a Senate with a commanding Democratic majority.

And then Jay Newton-Small at Swampland:

The Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are either playing a very delicate game of good cop/bad cop with President Obama’s nominee to the nation’s highest court, Sonia Sotomayor, or they’re fracturing as a conference and a large number of Rs could end up voting for her.

Prior to the start of the hearings, I wondered if the disarray that I was seeing among Republicans on the Sotomayor nomination was feigned or real — a ruse to throw folks off-balance or a reflection of where the party really is at the moment. I think we are starting to get answers on that.

And I cannot imagine that a number of folks have liked what they’ve been seeing in the political mirror. 

Digby explains:

Does Sotomayor really look different from all of "us?" She’s a middle aged woman with brown eyes and dark hair, which describes a rather large portion of the population. She looks as American as anybody in that room. Of course, any member of the human species could be equally described that way. "American" isn’t an ethnic or racial identity — unless you are a privileged white person who thinks that anyone who doesn’t look like you is an interloper (not to mention an untrustworthy, anti-family freak.)

This kind of remark says far more about the person who says it than the person they are ostensibly describing.

And there we have the dilemma in a nutshell: pander to the worst of who we are in their base and watch their political power continue to wither away, or face the howls of retribution from the selfsame base they’ve been stoking with fanatical fervor for years.

You can’t just flip that bile off with a switch, now can you? Just ask Ron Fournier.

But the Beltway CW? Best summed up by Joe Klein:

. . . we may be at a hinge of history, a natural correction after the conservatism of the past 30 years. We are certainly in the midst of a turn toward moderation after the radical right-wing excesses of the Bush Jr. years. . . . But the hyperbolic squirming on the right remains a vastly entertaining show. . . and a reminder of what we’re well rid of.

Did I hear an Amen?

The Sotomayor confirmation hearings begin again this morning at 9:30 am ET. I’ll be liveblogging them as they begin.

Surfing around the various news and opinion pages this morning, it’s hard to miss the theme that’s emerging among the Beltway talking head set.

First, Dan Balz:

With the outcome almost a foregone conclusion, there may be more for Republicans to lose than for Democrats to gain this week. Facing a demographic shift of significant proportions that threatens to keep them in minority status well into the future, their challenge will be to remain true to their principles while demonstrating that they are mindful that their party must adapt to a changing country. "

And Peter Baker and Neil Lewis in the NYTimes:

The start of hearings on President Obama’s nomination of Judge Sotomayor, who would be the first Hispanic and third woman to sit on the Supreme Court, was permeated with electoral politics, with Republicans taking pains not to offend Hispanic voters even as they sought to assure conservatives that they were vigorously challenging Judge Sotomayor and Mr. Obama on ideological grounds.

The session also quickly became a proxy for a larger struggle over the court. At times, it seemed the hearing was devoted more to refighting past battles and setting the stage for future ones, a recognition that barring an unforeseen development, Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation seems assured in a Senate with a commanding Democratic majority.

And then Jay Newton-Small at Swampland:

The Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are either playing a very delicate game of good cop/bad cop with President Obama’s nominee to the nation’s highest court, Sonia Sotomayor, or they’re fracturing as a conference and a large number of Rs could end up voting for her.

Prior to the start of the hearings, I wondered if the disarray that I was seeing among Republicans on the Sotomayor nomination was feigned or real — a ruse to throw folks off-balance or a reflection of where the party really is at the moment. I think we are starting to get answers on that.

And I cannot imagine that a number of folks have liked what they’ve been seeing in the political mirror. (more…)

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