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Press Release

Supreme Court expert available to address confirmation hearings

Posted: July 14, 2009


(Denver, Colo.) — The line of questioning by Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama in day two of the Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Judge Sonia Sotomayor “put the Republicans on the road to nowhere,” according to Metro State Political Science Professor Norman Provizer.

“The idea harped on by Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama that life experiences should play no role in the judge's approach to making judicial choices makes no sense given the history of judicial selection,” says Provizer, who teaches constitutional law and has co-edited three books on the Supreme Court and on the rating of Justices. “From the start of the Supreme Court, geographical diversity, for example, was of great importance. The Nixon administration made a point of emphasizingthe need to have Southern strict constructionists placed on the Supreme Court.

“What does all of this tell us, if not that life experience matters? It's a non question. The issue is whether that experience overwhelms everything else, including the facts of a case, or not.”

The Judiciary Committee is considering whether Sotomayor, a federal appellate judge, should be the 111th person to sit on the nation's highest court and the first Hispanic woman on the Supreme Court.

The hearings are a key part of the process to have a judge selected and seated by the first Monday in October when the next Supreme Court session begins.


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