The Sotomayor hearings

Let’s give the country a long, slow look at the Republican trainwreck.

I haven’t had much to say about the Sotomayor flap, because Hilzoy and Steve Benen (inter alia) have said it all. The charges against Sotomayor are garbage, the racist/sexist assumption that a female Puerto Rican who graduates summa from Princeton can’t possibly have actually earned it is disgusting, the antics of the right wing are (1) good for the country because they’re putting the Republicans in an impossible hole with anyone with a Spanish surname but also (2) bad for the country because the public display of racism and sexism will encourage bad behavior among bigots and resentment among the victims, and in any case (3) evidence that one of the two major parties is allowing itself to be led by people who are batsh*t insane.

The next play is up to Sen. Leahy. The temptation will be to run a quick set of hearings and shout the nomination through. I think that would be a mistake. The longer this issue lingers in public, the sillier the opposition to Sotomayor is going to look.

I think we need a long, slow set of hearings in which Sotomayor’s accusers are made to look like the bunch of bigoted buffoons they are. And I think that Leahy ought to start the questioning by reading out quotes from Tancredo, Gingrich, Limbaugh, Liddy, Fred Barnes, etc., and asking Sotomayor to respond to them. And if Barnes wants to testify about how a summa just means you’re not a D+ student, he ought to be made welcome.

Leahy ought to go into the rope business. Looks to me as if he’ll have lots of suicidal customers.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: