What they're really saying in that Senate hearing room

This is some novel reporting, and better than a lot of other Senate/Court coverage out there right now.

In the polite but white-hot world of confirmation
hearings, senators and witnesses don’t always say what they want to
say. So they speak in code.

Here’s a translation of what was said in Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing, and what the players actually meant:


WHAT SHE SAID: “If I introduced everybody that’s family-like,”
Sotomayor said with a strong voice and a smile, “we’d be here all

WHAT SHE MEANT: I may not look like all of you but, trust me, I’m no
different from every other family-loving American. I’m surrounded by
people who love me.


WHAT HE SAID: “Judge Sotomayor’s journey to this hearing room,” said
Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., “is a truly American

WHAT HE MEANT: If you love America, you’ll love Sotomayor — or at least vote for her.


WHAT HE SAID: “The confirmation of Justice Louis Brandeis, the first
Jewish-American to be nominated to the high court, was a struggle ripe
with anti-Semitism,” Leahy said. “Likewise, the first Catholic nominee
had to overcome the argument that, as a Catholic, he’d be dominated by
the pope.”

WHAT HE MEANT: Criticize Sotomayor at your own risk. You don’t want to sound racist.


WHAT HE SAID: “Let no one demean this extraordinary woman,” Leahy said.

WHAT HE MEANT: Criticize Sotomayor at your own risk. You don’t want to sound sexist.

Good stuff. Creative thinking in that room packed with media and politicians.

WHAT HE SAID: “I expect this hearing and resulting
debate will be characterized by a respectful tone, a discussion of
serious issues, a thoughtful dialogue and maybe some disagreements,”
said Sen. Jeff Sessions, the committee’s senior Republican.

WHAT HE MEANT: This is a lifetime appointment, folks. We’re not going to roll over and play dead.


WHAT HE SAID: “Politics has no place in the courtroom,” Sessions said.

WHAT HE MEANT: Democratic politics has no place in the courtroom.

Read it all, and use it as a translation key for this week’s events.


Join Mercator today for free and get our latest news and analysis

Buck internet censorship and get the news you may not get anywhere else, delivered right to your inbox. It's free and your info is safe with us, we will never share or sell your personal data.

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.