The junior Republican senator from Alabama is just cold hammerin’ Sonia Sotomayor today at her confirmation hearings, on account of how her honor dared to suggest that her background plays a role in her votes. (Surely the white Southern background of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III had nothing to do with the racially insensitive comments and rulings that led to his own appointment to the federal bench being blocked by the Senate in 1985.)
Ok, let’s be clear about this: the reason we have judges is that the law requires interpretation. It is the nature of human thought to be shaped by prior experience.
By making the Sotomayor hearings an airing of grievances about her alleged “prejudice”, the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are disingenuously trying to turn the American electorate against the very idea of the judiciary, in a variation on their usual strategy of casting progressive judges as “activists” who “legislate from the bench”. By making “originalism” and “impartiality” their buzzwords, they’re trying to delegitimize any rulings that reflect an evolution in social mores since those bright slave-y days when the Constitution was written.
But, ok. Ramble on, Jeff Sessions, what the fuck ever. Sotomayor has the votes. Wake me when this is over.