Who passed out the cheat sheets?
The official Republican reaction to President Obama's nomination of federal appeals court Judge Sonia Sotomayor to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy created by the retirement of Justice David Souter was relatively subdued. That doesn't mean it wasn't hilarious. Here are a few excerpts from the comments of leading Republican senators. See if you can detect a pattern.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell: "We will thoroughly examine her record to ensure she understands that the role of a jurist in our democracy is to apply the law evenhandedly, despite their own feelings or personal or political preferences."
Sen. Jeff Sessions, top Republican on the Judiciary Committee: "We must determine if Ms. Sotomayor understands that the proper role of a judge is to act as a neutral umpire of the law, calling balls and strikes fairly without regard to one's own personal preferences or political views."
Sen. John Cornyn, Judiciary Committee member: "She must prove her commitment to impartially deciding cases based on the law, rather than based on her own personal politics, feelings and preferences."
Sen. Charles Grassley, Judiciary Committee member: "The Judiciary Committee should take time to ensure that the nominee is true to the Constitution and apply the law, not personal politics, feelings or preferences."
Does anyone think these remarks are pure coincidence? I mean, Cornyn and Grassley used almost the exact same phrase at the close of their comment. Talk about operating in lock-step. My question is, did they all get together and slap together their script, or did Rush Limbaugh provide it to them? And anyone who doesn't think "preferences" is a code word are kidding themselves. What these lawmakers are doing is preaching to the choir and tossing a little raw meat to those on the fringe who will try to lead folks to believe that Sotomayor, who is generally regarded as a moderate liberal, makes Barney Frank look like Dwight Eisenhower. Unless something surprising surfaces, Republicans in the Senate aren't likely to go into full attack mode against the judge. She was originally nominated to a federal judgeship by the elder President Bush and in at least one case sided with anti-abortion forces. It also can be assumed that Republicans aren't interested in unnecessarily angering Hispanics and women, two key voting blocs. One can say that political considerations shouldn't play a role in senators' decisions. You also might as well say that Liberace was a babe magnet. We can assume that the grandstanding senators (Democrats were equally dramatic when Republican presidents nominated justices) will pontificate about the sanctity of the Constitution and ask Sotomayor whether she has the proper respect for the document. Not being a dummy, she will assure them that she does. Then, provided no bombshells have burst, Sotomayor will be our next high court justice. In the meantime, the show must go on.