Although the confirmation process for Judge Sonia Sotomayor is still ramping up, there are a few things that are already fairly clear. The first is that the GOP is probably not going to be able to prevent Sotomayor's confirmation. The other thing is that they're probably not ever going to be able to resolve the issue of Sotomayor's Puerto Rican-ness, and What It Means, for America. But that doesn't mean they don't have options! No, no! And one of those options will be insisting that they need more time than ever before requested to study Sotomayor's body of legal writings, thus turning the confirmation process into an unending cavalcade of bureaucratic torture porn!
That was among the issues taken up by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and Eat The Press friend Ana Marie Cox on last night's edition of Maddow's eponymous show. At issue were GOP demands for a delayed start date to the Sotomayor hearings, so that they can read all of Sotomayor's decisions. ALL THREE THOUSAND OF THEM. In a press release entitled "SCOTUS Hearing Double Standard," the Senate GOP laid out their reasoning thusly:
"Judiciary Chairman Forces 76 Case Per-Day Review of Judge Sotomayor's Record While Comparing It To Judge Roberts 6 Case Per-Day Schedule."
Naturally, nobody in their right minds believes that anyone in the Senate actually read the entirety of Roberts' case load, except for maybe Arlen Specter, who's endearingly strange that way. But, if you were to hew to a six case per-day standard, then the review process would take until January 20, 2011. Wow! I feel bad for Jeffrey Rosen, who quit blogging before he realized that the Sotomayor confirmation process could have been his entire career!
But seriously! How did this "affirmative action baby" rack up such an impressive number of cases? Did she have to do all the white justices' work, or something? Whatever, as Mitch McConnell points out, it just "violates the basic tenets of fairness" to ask him to read all that crap. WHY DID SONIA SOTOMAYOR SET OUT TO BE SO UNFAIR TO MITCH MCCONNELL?
Anyway, Ana Marie Cox came with three reasons that this is "preposterous":
1. The Size of Roberts' case load was small because he was only a Judge for two years. The review period was long because despite having only been a judge for two years, the committee had LOTS of other materials to review: mostly articles and cases he'd argued as a lawyer.
2. You don't review every case Sotomayor participated in, you review the opinions she wrote, and Sotomayor has only 600 opinions. With 600 opinions in a body of 3000+ cases, that means in 2400+ instances, the only thing to "review" is how she voted. That should not take too long!
3. She's already been previously confirmed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals! If you just read her opinions since the prior confirmation, it's four cases a day.
The only other preposterous thing I'd add is that once again, the GOP should probably be busying themselves in casting a specific, alternative vision for judicial candidates to sell the American people, in a long term effort to establish what their judicial philosophy is all about. But they're not! Instead, they are telling the American people that they are the party of pointless obfuscation and delay.