During the Roberts and Alito confirmation battles, I seem to recall GOP senators claiming that when someone was nominated to a seat on the federal judiciary, especially to the Supreme Court, it was unacceptable for Senators to ask them about specific issues, legislation, or cases that might come before them once they are on the court. Furthermore, if such questions were asked, it was incumbent upon the nominee to refrain from answering such questions, less they appear to be pre-judging potential cases.
Apparently, Sen. Jim DeMint doesn’t care much for that tradition because, when he met with Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor earlier this month, he tried to grill her about the pending hate crimes legislation and then got miffed when she refused to answer:
When meeting with President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor, DeMint says she dodged his question about the bill.
“One of those questions I asked is if my children were assaulted, should the penalty for the person who did that be less than if a [sic] African-American or Hispanic or someone with a different worldview was assaulted? And she said, ‘Of course not.’ But then when I began to question her about hate crimes legislation and what it meant, she really avoided giving me any answer,” he points out.
DeMint says the first time around, Sotomayor gave him what she thought was the right answer, but the second time she gave him a purely political response.
Aside from the impropriety of this question, DeMint’s intentionally obtuse misrepresentation of the issue is especially galling since if his children were assaulted because of their race, the perpetrator would almost certainly be charged with a hate crime, the same as if an African-American or Hispanic were assaulted because of their race.
At first, I thought that DeMint was incessantly lying about hate crimes legislation because that was the only way he could justify his opposition, but now I am starting to think that he just has no idea what he is talking about.