The XX Factor

Sotomayor Sticks to the Script

Emily , I agree that even though Sonia Sotomayor declared early on her first day of questioning that “humans aren’t robots,” she’s kind of acting like one. She speaks thoughtfully, but it looks like that’s because she decided a long time ago what she was going to say. Her measured responses to her critics’ questions remind me of the “witnesses” in high school mock trials. The teenage attorneys (and I know, because I was one) aren’t bound by rules about not feeding answers to their witnesses, so feed they do. They type detailed lists of questions and their required answers, coach their witnesses on tone of voice and demeanor, and explain how the opposing attorneys will try to trap them during cross-examination. Sotomayor, who has been rehearsing extensively with White House staffers during the past few weeks, looks and sounds like those mock witnesses this morning. She knew what she would be asked, and she had a scripted, unrevealing response at the ready. The prize goes to the senator who somehow jogs her out of this.