I watched a bit of the speechifying by the Senators during the initial stage of the confirmation hearings of Judge Sotomayor. I couldn’t take more than a few minutes of it.
The Supreme Court is not and was never intended to be a representative body. The confirmation of a Supreme Court justice was never intended to bear the hallmarks of an election where various interest groups loudly and angrily campaign for their candidate – the one who will “deliver the goods.”
The confirmation process has become a partisan blood sport, due in no small part to the intense television coverage devoted to the hearings and politicians’ insatiable appetite for public bloviation.
Color me an idealist, but wouldn’t it be nice if the every President chose Supreme Court justices solely on the basis of the nominee’s being: (a) learned in the law and (b) scrupulously fair; and wouldn’t it be nice if the purpose of the confirmation process would be for the Senators to satisfy themselves, in a non-partisan, collegial fashion, that the nominee satisfies those two criteria? Yeah, I know. When pigs fly.
The process has become little more than unpleasant and unbecoming noise.