With the virtual absence of any objective review of Sonia Sotomayor’s opinions or positions by members of Congress, the Senate Judiciary Committee appears to be gearing up for another confirmation process with little substantive content. As noted previously with regard to the Roberts and Alito hearings, confirmation hearings have become little more than extended photo ops for Senators.
On this occasion, it will be the Democrats trying to avoid any difficult questions for the nominee and the Republicans demanding answers. The latter demands will be a bit awkward given the lack of probing questions or substantive answers in the last two hearings for Republican nominees. The “Ginsburg rule” remains the controlling precedent where nominees are allowed to refuse to answer questions in areas where they may render decisions — leaving the discussion at a meaningless level of generality punctuated with discussions of baseball and movies.