Friday, July 17, 2009

Sotomayor Hearings

These disgraceful hearings have allowed the Republicans to define what constitutes appropriate judicial behavior, framing the issue in an extremely false and childishly simplistic way, as Professor Gerken notes. This has seriously misled the viewing public about judges and the Constitution. These hearings have allowed Justice Roberts’s simplistic and misleading baseball umpire analogy to become the dominant image of judging. If that’s all judging amounts to, as the Republicans have loudly claimed, then why shouldn’t we elect know-nothing judges rather than have high-level committees select qualified appointees? Why should the American Bar Association have a say? Why should they be paid so much? And if big corporations and political ideologues want to waste their millions getting sympathizers elected, what’s the harm? These hearings have publicized and legitimized a bufoon’s idea of the judicial function, in place of the traditional American understanding that sees the judge, particularly the Supreme Court justice, as one who applies to difficult issues a wisdom rooted in high intelligence, broad experience, and deep learning.

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