Sotomayor Plays It Safe, Part II

Let me just point out that Judge Sotomayor is very, very good at elaborate nonanswers. Each sounds fresh as spring rain. She’s clearly culled from the Greatest Hits of Hearings Past and deployed the “it may come before me in the future” defense as well as the “summarize Youngstown” dodge, plus the “precedent is precedent” duck. She can’t answer broad questions (because they are broad) or narrow ones (because they are narrow). This morning was no more revealing than any other morning of any other Supreme Court confirmation hearing in recent years, and to the extent any news was made, it was that Sotomayor is very empathetic and open-minded in those few minutes before she robotically applies the facts to the law. That, and she might be able to persuade her future colleagues to allow cameras into the court someday.