The XX Factor

From Samoas to Sotomayor: Girl Scouts at the Confirmation Hearing

When a pack of smartly-uniformed firefighters strode out of Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing Thursday, they were greeted by a throng of reporters-and six girls in green t-shirts, their point-and-shoots at the ready. The members of Greater King David Baptist Church’s Girl Scout troop had just listened to two of the firefighters testify, and now they crowded together, photographing the firemen as they walked by. This was the best day of their trip.

The girls paid their way from Baton Rouge to Washington selling Girl Scout cookies (their chapter is in the Cookie Hall of Fame) to learn something about how government works. On Thursday, they met La. Sen. Mary Landrieu and then filed into Sotomayor’s hearing. The nominee herself was already gone; she had finished testifying earlier and been replaced by a slate of outside witnesses. But the girls and their chaperones were still interested. They’ve been following the hearing on T.V. and the radio for the last four days, and they paid close attention to the Ricci v. DeStefano case.

Never mind that the part of the hearing they watched involved the plaintiffs in a case they thought was without merit. They were just glad to be part of the process. “This is history,” troop leader Virginia Castle said. “We are sitting in on history.” The girls said they hadn’t been forced to come to the hearing of the nominee who could become the first Hispanic and the third woman to sit on the Supreme Court-they wanted to. Two of the six want to be lawyers, and they said they’d learned something about what it might take to make it to the top of the judiciary someday. “I learned color doesn’t matter,” Katelyn said. “And the Senate is really important.”