Sotomayor won’t be judged by a jury of her peers
As I wrote earlier this week, there’s a huge glut among the minority witnesses of anti-affirmative action experts testifying at Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation. But in further comparing the witness lists between Sotomayor and the two most recent nominees, Justices Sam Alito and John Roberts, there’s another striking difference: the number of non-lawyer witnesses.
At Roberts’s hearing four years ago, just 6 out of the 33 witnesses were non-lawyers, and at Alito’s hearing, only one witness was neither a lawyer or a congressperson. Not only was Alito’s hearing heavy on legal credentials, it had high-powered ones: 7 past and present judges and a former solicitor general testified at Alito’s hearing.
In comparison, there is just one past judge, and no solicitors general or attorneys general on Sotomayor’s witness list – and a whopping 10 witnesses who don’t have a law degree at all.
The disparity illustrates where the qualms have been with Sotomayor’s nomination, or rather, where the qualms aren’t: her legal qualifications and fitness as a judge. Tomorrow and Friday, baseball pitchers, firefighters and mayors will all testify for and against Sotomayor, but what authority their words will carry is anyone’s guess.