Sotomayor Gets a Hearing

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Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy just announced on the Senate floor that Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor will receive her confirmation hearing before his committee on July 13.”It’s in line with past experience,” Leahy said. “There’s no reason to delay this well qualified nominee. She deserves an oppertunity to go before the public and speak of her record especially given those who would mischaracterize her record.”

The date is much earlier than what the G.O.P. had hoped for. Senator Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the committee, had pushed to confirm her after the August recess in September given her long judicial record. There’s sure to be some outrage, though the schedule is inline with the confimation of Chief Justice John Roberts — as Leahy pointed out on the Senate floor. Republicans had originally called for a Roberts-like schedule before they realized that he was confirmed in just 74 days. They then revised their call for an Alito-like time frame — Justice Samuel Alito took more than 90 days from nomination to confirmation. Oops.

Leahy lays out the schedule in his statement, which they just passed out to reporters on the Hill. Looks like he anticipates two weeks of hearings followed by a vote the first week of August before they recess for they summer: “My initial proposal to Senator Sessions was that we begin the hearing on July 7, following the Senate’s return from July 4 recess. I have deferred the start date to July 13 in an effort to accomodate our Republican members. With bipartisan cooperation, we should still be able to complete Judiciary Committee consideration of the nomination during the last week of July, and allow the Senate to consider the nomination during the first week in August, before the Senate recesses on August 7.”