Archive for the ‘Supreme Court’ Category


Twitter turns the Sotomayor hearings into sports for nerds

July 16, 2009

This week, the Sotomayor hearings have begun. I don’t know how much this historic event is on everyone else’s minds around the country, although I hear that only 43% of Americans even know who Sotomayor is. Which means most Americans could care less about the confirmation hearings. But I live in Washington, so it’s the talk of the town this week. Oh, and the talk of Tweeters the world over.

Since I can’t just watch TV all day at work (although I did keep CSPAN on in the background on mute for effect!), Twitter has been my primary source of coverage of the Sotomayor hearings. And really, when you have Twitter, who needs C-SPAN? I have learned everything I need to know about the Sotomayor hearings from the oft-loathed Twitter. Old media, you should be worrying.


Day 1: Monday

10:54 am: LeslieBradshaw: RT @kbladow RT @blogdiva & @TheRootBuzz & @BreakingNews: An abortion protester was removed from Sotomayor’s hearing. #sotoshow

11:18 am: LeslieSanchez: OMG – who taught Sen. Schumer how to say #Sotomayor. Stop, please

12 pm: HumanFolly: What’s up w/ all the sports metaphors in the Sotomayor hearing? #sportsbias

12:13 pm: AnaMarieCox: Coburn endorses SS as “a better judge than some but not as good as others.” Well, said, Dr. Obvious.

2:32: mikemadden: Abortion protesters getting very half-hearted: Lady yells, “You’re wrong, Sotomayor,” but she was already on her way out of the room.

2:58: AmandaCarpenter: Sotomayor’s mom is crying. I remember Alito’s wife crying for much different reasons the last time we confirmed a judge.

3:04: AmandaCarpenter: #Sotoshow is over! Chris Matthews says he knows he shouldn’t say this, but he’s “feeling one of those thrills again” No joke.

Day 2: Tuesday

11:15 am: HowardKurtz: Sotomayor says Roe is settled law. That is a big deal. Most of the cable channels weren’t live and are now going back to it.

11:16: NishaChittal: Something tells me the right-wing blogosphere is going to go nuts over this “settled law” comment.

11:44: AnaMarieCox: #sotoshow DISCUSSION OF NUNCHUCKS FTW!

11:45 am: cbellantoni: Nunchucks sticks FTW! #sotoshow “If there’s anybody near you, you are going to be seriously injured.”

11:50 am: JonHenke: I only regret that David Carradine couldn’t have lived to see this. And perhaps testify. With nunchucks. #sotoshow

12pm: mikemadden: Reasons the media is dying, part 3,872: Can’t even agree on how to spell “nunchucks.”

12:23: MotherJones: Dem staffers are circulating rebuttal points in real time to GOP questions. War room in high gear. #sotomayor

2:15 pm: GottaLaff: Grassley: “People always say I have the ability to turn people on”

3:12 pm: jdickerson: Sotomayor about Obama’s 5 percent rule: “I wouldn’t approach the view of judging the way the president does.”

4:24 pm: stevemlucas I don’t know enough about NYC, but did Schumer really need to ask Mets or Yankees at a confirmation hearing? lol

4:43: rkref: Graham is wiggling in his seat like a little boy who needs to go potty. #Sotomayor #Sotoshow

4:44: rkref: What is Graham doing with these questions about 9/11. She lives blocks from ground zero, asshat. She wasn’t in SOUTH CAROLINA on 9/11.

4:46: rkref: Does Sen. Graham think she’s been nominated to be head of the CIA? DOD, perhaps? #Sotomayor #Sotoshow

4:46: mikemadden: Lindsey Graham’s questions to #Sotomayor were, basically: Why does everyone hate you? Aren’t you lucky you’re not white? Isn’t al-Qaida bad?

4:47: rkref: More misleading attacks by Graham. As a board member, she had nothing to do with the cases selected by the PRLDF or the briefs. #Sotoshow

5:52 pm: rkref: Roger Simon says Lindsey Graham was a condescending gamecock today bc Rush Limbaugh beat him up on his show. Pathetic.

Day 3: Wednesday

9:30 am: CitizenCassidy: Coffee + John Cornyn talking about white firefighters = #BreakfastOfChampions. #Sotomayor

9:45 am: rkref: Cornyn trying to get #Sotomayor to say “UNCLE” — disavow it! Repent! Sin no more! #Sotoshow

10 AM: rkref: #Sotomayor has two cups of clear liquid in front of her. One is water, the other vodka, depending on if questioner is GOP or Dem. #Sotoshow

10:15: OKnox: Wait a moment. I think @OrrinHatch may have just filed the first Senatorial tweet from the #Sotomayor hearings (Unless that’s staff).

10:30: mikemadden: Coburn: “Let’s say I’m 38 weeks pregnant.” Hell of a way to make an announcement like that, Senator.

11:30 am: OKnox: Lights flicker at #Sotomayor. Leahy: “That was not a comment from above. I have certain powers as chairman, but not that one.”

12 pm: cbellantoni: Things I learned today, #sotoshow edition: #Sotomayor a fan of Perry Mason.

12:20 pm: TheFix: Sotomayor: “I am not an expert in marijuana growing” Bullet dodged 😉

12:30: DavidCornDC: video of Sen. Coburn saying to Soto: “you have lots of ‘splaining to do.” #sotomayor

2:30 pm: jdickerson: Senator Coburn says “Americans want to see what your gut says,” but I though it was wrong to pick a judge based on gut?

3 pm: JDickerson: Franken makes first joke! Asks why Sotomayor– a Perry Mason fan– doesn’t know the one case he lost. “Didn’t the White House prepare you?”

4 pm: OKnox: Grassley now asking #Sotomayor to comment on merits of Defense of Marriage Act. She says matter is pending or impending b4 SCOTUS.

Twitter coverage of the Sotomayor hearings does lead me to wonder where the substance is, since you can’t learn much more from this than who made what dumb joke. But I think the point is that the whole event, from what I can see, has turned into pure political theater. Unless Sotomayor has a “complete meltdown,” as Sen. Graham said, she’s going to get confirmed. So all the TV, cable news, and Twitter hoopla is mostly for show. And for fun.


Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination brings out subtle racism everywhere

May 26, 2009

President Obama announced his appointment of Sonia Sotomayor for the ninth seat on the Supreme Court bench yesterday morning, setting the interwebs and the cable news pundits on fire with something big to talk about all day.

Stuart Taylor at the National Journal is right in pointing out that this nomination is extremely shrewd because it puts the Republican Party in a tight spot. If they criticize Sotomayor for the things they most want to attack her for, they risk further branding themselves as the party of old white men. If they don’t attack her aggressively, they risk giving a victory to Obama and further weakening the party.

After Obama’s announcement, what followed was almost boringly predictable: all the news today has been dominated by talk about her race and gender. And though she was only nominated about 12 hours ago, her nomination has already brought race to the forefront of the public discourse — a topic we all normally like to avoid for the sake of our own comfort levels. Better to pretend race doesn’t exist, right? Right. Except now, it suddenly exists, more than ever. The fact that she grew up in the Bronx projects but graduated summa cum laude from Princeton and Yale Law School doesn’t exist, but the fact that she’s a Latina woman definitely does exist.

For instance:

–Glenn Beck says Sotomayor is a racist! (Does anyone else besides me see the irony in the fact that a panel of three white men are discussing whether Sotomayor is racist towards white men?)

–Senator James Inhofe thinks Sotomayor might allow ‘undue influence because of her own personal race and gender‘! (Oh my god, you’re right, because she’s a LATINA WOMAN and her opinions might be different from those of WHITE MEN, she’s automatically a bad judge) 

–Mike Huckabee calls her Maria  Sotomayor. Well, you know, all those brown people have such similar names. 

–Even Politico, however inadvertent, falls prey to some good old-fashioned racial stereotypes.

–The conservative Judicial Confirmation Network whines that “in Sotomayor’s court, the content of your character is not as important as the colour of your skin.”  That’s not a hypocritical statement to make about a minority judge at ALL…

The underlying assertion in all these subtle, or not so subtle, criticisms Sotomayor is that her race and gender make her less qualified to be a Supreme Court justice, because her race and gender might affect her decisions. Thus, following that logic, we should only pick jurists who don’t have any race or gender to cloud their decisions.

You mean to tell me white men are raceless and genderless and completely neutral? Why didn’t someone tell me that before?!