Of umpires and the heart at Sotomayor hearing
Senators trying to make points turned to baseball umpires, football, and matters of the heart, at Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing for the U.S. Supreme Court.
They batted around the words of Chief Justice John Roberts from his own confirmation hearing four years ago when he told the same committee: “Judges are like umpires. Umpires don’t make the rules; they apply them.” (For more umpire analogy discussion see The New York Times).
Senator Charles Schumer said there was debate about whether Roberts has “actually called pitches as they come or whether he tried to change the rules.”
But Sotomayor, Schumer said, “has simply called balls and strikes for 17 years far more closely than Chief Justice Roberts has during his four years on the Supreme Court.”
Senator Richard Durbin used the baseball analogy to strike at conservatives. “We have observed, unfortunately, that it’s a little hard to see home plate from right field.”
The only ones who were called “OUT” at the hearing were a couple of anti-abortion rights yellers who were ejected from the room.
Republican Senator John Cornyn chose football: “A lower court judge is like the quarterback who executes the plays, not the coach that calls them. That means many of your cases don’t really tell us that much about your judicial philosophy or what it would be in action if confirmed to the United States Supreme Court.”
Other Republicans chose not to put a spin on the ball but to talk about the heart.
Senator Lindsey Graham said: “I have no way of knowing what is in your heart any more than you have knowing what’s in my heart. So that to me is an absurd, dangerous standard.”
The only thing missing was the apple pie…
Photo credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder (Bat boy holds baseballs for home plate umpire)