Today it should not matter that Sonia Sotomayor is the nominee or that the distinguished senator from Vermont is chairing these hearings. Today it should not matter that Judge Sotomayor is a woman or even a Latina. Today as these hearings begin on a national stage, in front of audiences that are torn apart culturally, socioeconomically or even divided on party lines, it should not matter that Sotomayor has been nominated by a progressive liberal, an African-American man, even. Today it should matter that we are Americans and the process that was conceived and written by our founding fathers hundreds of years ago still works. Today the process of nominating and confirming a jurist to the highest court in the land should be looked to as a historic feat and one that we should feel honored to be observing.
The United States Constitution outlines the process that we will watch over the coming days and weeks and it is simply astonishing that a process first put into place in the 18th century can still be meaningful and effective in the 21st century. What better time than now to review Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution?
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.Call me sentimental and easily moved by the historical processes of our nation, but it is simply incredible that thirty-nine men gathered in the Assembly Room of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 17, 1787 at the conclusion of a lengthy Constitutional Convention to sign the very document that outlines for us today how a jurist may be selected to serve on the Supreme Court.
Disregarding the hecklers in the hearing room, the barely veiled cutting remarks of senators with significant philosophical differences with Judge Sotomayor, and the rabid racial epithets that have been used in the lead up to today's hearing, on process alone, today was a wonderful lesson in the brilliance of founding fathers who saw merit in the establishment of a constitutional democracy. And regardless of how a person might feel about Sotomayor the woman or even the jurist, there is something to be said for the historic nature of her potential confirmation representing only the 111th confirmation of a United States Supreme Court justice, the 3rd confirmation of a female jurist, and 1st of an Hispanic jurist.
When we are wise enough to place politics aside, there is a beautiful history at the base of our political system.