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Sotomayor Hearing Witness List:

The Senate Judiciary Committee has released the list of witnesses who will testify at Judge Sonia SOtomayor's confirmation hearings. There are some familiar names on the list, including two of conspirators: Ilya Somin and David Kopel.

krs:
Why are the ABA people not classified as "Majority Witnesses"?
7.9.2009 2:27pm
beamish:
I was hoping against hope that Somin and Kopel might be testifying in favor.
7.9.2009 2:43pm
RPT (mail):
krs:

The kvetching begins already. Why does this matter to you? This is Brent Bozell-like non-substantive silliness, unless you believe that the minority witnesses can't address the issues on their merits. Is it because the ABA was on the Majority List for the Alito confirmation hearings? Let the testimony stand on its own.
7.9.2009 2:49pm
U.Va. Grad:
What could David Cone possibly have to say about Judge Sotomayor? Am I missing something?
7.9.2009 2:49pm
Nunzio:
Any of the former associates from Sotomayor &Associates?
7.9.2009 2:49pm
BN (mail) (www):
If Somin or Kopel don't take time to give a shout out to all their peeps back at the V Con I am going to be disappointed.

I am interested to hear what David Cone is going to share with the committee.
7.9.2009 2:50pm
U.Va. Grad:
An answer to my own question:
Among the witnesses are a few surprises. David Cone, the former pitcher, presumably will echo President Obama's claim that Judge Sotomayor saved baseball when she ended the 1995 strike.

If I recall correctly, Cone was a longtime players' union rep as well, and may in fact have been in the leadership at the time.
7.9.2009 2:57pm
arthur:
David Cone is presumably testifying about District Judge Sotomayor's ruling ending the baseball strike/lockout. Frank Ricci presumably is testifying about his recent Supreme Court case.

Is there precedent for litigants testifying on the nomination for higher Court of a judge who ruled in their cases? It seems kind of silly.
7.9.2009 2:59pm
Nunzio:
Arthur,

I think it's the whole empathy thing. But I agree with you that it's silly.
7.9.2009 3:04pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):

David Kopel, Esq., Independence Institute

What does the 'Esq.' mean, apart from Esquire? Seems silly to include it just to indicate he's a lawyer.
7.9.2009 3:06pm
U.Va. Grad:
Arthur:

According to this blog post, John G.S. Flym, the losing attorney in the Vanguard case that Alito forgot to recuse himself from, testified for the minority at the Alito hearings. Not sure how on-point that is, but it's something.
7.9.2009 3:09pm
GMUSOL05:
David Cone? Really?

Frank Ricci? Really?
7.9.2009 3:13pm
hawkins:
Kudos to Somin. whats the point of Kopel testifying? Why not just have Ricci? Oh, wait..
7.9.2009 3:17pm
Curt Fischer:

I was hoping against hope that Somin and Kopel might be testifying in favor.



It just says that they are witnesses called by the minority party, not what their testimony will be.
7.9.2009 3:35pm
rjw:
Well, if David Cone supports the nominee, then how can anyone be against her? The guy threw a perfect game once. That must be relevant somehow ...
7.9.2009 3:39pm
Calderon:
I disagreed with the Second Circuit's Ricci decision, and particularly disagreed with per curiam way that it was handled, but still, having two plaintiffs from that case (Ricci and Vargas) testify at the hearing seems to be putting too much attention on one case. I think it would have been better to have someone versed in appellate procedure and discrimination law talk about the issues in the case, the inappropriateness of a skeletal per curiam opinion, and forego the plaintiffs.

I also agree David Cone testifying seems rather silly ... my morbid sense of humor hopes positive steroid tests from Cone get leaked before the hearing just for the added entertainment value.
7.9.2009 3:49pm
beamish:
It just says that they are witnesses called by the minority party, not what their testimony will be.

Good, then there's still a chance.
7.9.2009 3:55pm
[insert here] delenda est:
IIRC,they aren't necessarily asked to give their opinion on the nomination per se. They might only be asked with respect to particular items of interest.
7.9.2009 3:58pm
Just Dropping By (mail):
Oh, great, now we've got victim impact testimony in confirmation hearings....
7.9.2009 4:05pm
hawkins:

the losing attorney in the Vanguard case that Alito forgot to recuse himself from, testified for the minority at the Alito hearings


Probably not a good idea. But at least it was the attorney, and not just the losing party
7.9.2009 4:13pm
krs:
It's an actual question and I'm curious as to the answer.
7.9.2009 4:30pm
The River Temoc (mail):
It seems kind of silly.

Remember, the witnesses called in committee hearings are not necessarily those who shed the most light on the matter at hand. There is often a kabuki theater element to committee hearings. You often need to find witnesses who are from the chairman's and ranking member's respective home states, who represent important stakeholders, and so forth, in addition to an expert. The key in pulling off a good hearing is finding people in the former categories who are also in the latter categories.

Bear in mind that the senators are often getting one-on-one briefings from other experts. They may even meet as a group with other experts for an off-the-record briefing. It's not as those they shut out information outside of the official committee hearing.
7.9.2009 4:37pm
DNL (mail):
I am a HUGE David Cone fan. Honestly. This is awesome.
7.9.2009 4:39pm
KeithK (mail):
It does seem kind of silly to have an ex-ballplayer testifying at a confirmation hearing for a Supreme Court nominee, union rep or not. But it's almost certain that the testimony of the witnesses will makes no real difference. It's all about theater.
7.9.2009 5:09pm
Nunzio:
I'm wondering why they didn't call any of her colleagues on the Second Circuit.

At Alito's hearings, several of his colleagues testified, including some liberal judges, in his favor. I thought that was effective and relevant.
7.9.2009 5:19pm
A.S.:
Can somebody please ask David Cone if he ever took steroids?

I remember how well it worked out the last time we had baseball players testifying in front of Congress...
7.9.2009 5:20pm
A.S.:
BTW, I am impressed that we've got TWO Conspirators on the witness list. It's almost like there might be a Conspriator on the inside working for one of the Senators on the Committee...

(PS - Hi, Orin!)
7.9.2009 5:23pm
rosetta's stones:
If Cone was taking 'roids, he should ask for his money back. He wasn't bulky at all.

I too would question why no peer judges off her bench are testifying. That's supposedly one of her strengths, her experience, and those judges should be able to support that strength. Curious.
7.9.2009 5:34pm
Leo Marvin (mail):

I also agree David Cone testifying seems rather silly

I promise David Cone's testimony will be at least as informed as Jim Bunning's vote.
7.9.2009 5:39pm
Dave N (mail):
Leo Marvin,

Too bad Senator Bunning isn't on the Judiciary Committee. He and Cone could spend the time debating which was the better pitcher.

Also, I am a bit surprised that the Republicans don't have one more member (according to the Senate Judiciary Committee's website, there are 12 Democrats and 7 Republicans, including Al Franken). Since Senate committees are proportionately based, a 12-8 Democratic/Republican ratio would accurately reflect the 60-40 Senate split.
7.9.2009 6:30pm
Jon Roland (mail) (www):
Witnesses might want to raise some questions raised by Dr. Richard Cordero, if they find they have merit. Here is the word from Cordero:

Judge Sotomayor earned $3,773,824 since 1988 + received $381,775 in loans = $4,155,599 + her 1976-1987 earnings,
yet disclosed assets worth only $543,903 in her answers to the Questionnaire of the Senate Judiciary Committee and
likewise withheld from it the DeLano Case, which reveals her participation in a cover-up of concealment of assets as part of a judicially run and tolerated bankruptcy fraud scheme.

By Dr. Richard Cordero, Esq.
Judicial-Discipline-Reform.org
Dr.Richard.Cordero.Esq@gmail.com

This article with all its supporting endnotes and the copy of the summary order that Judge Sotomayor withheld from the Senate Judiciary Committee can be downloaded here.

The table collecting her financial information with its meticulous endnotes is here.
7.9.2009 6:35pm
Steve:
Since Senate committees are proportionately based, a 12-8 Democratic/Republican ratio would accurately reflect the 60-40 Senate split.

I think Arlen Specter's party switch is the culprit here.
7.9.2009 6:37pm
Angus:
The Judiciary Committee was 12-8 originally, but became 13-7 when Specter switched. I believe the tradition is not to change committee makeups until the next Congress.
7.9.2009 6:39pm
Dave N (mail):
(according to the Senate Judiciary Committee's website, there are 12 Democrats and 7 Republicans, including Al Franken)
Since I fully realize that neither Senator Franken will claim the Republicans nor the Republicans will claim Senator Franken, I should have worded the parenthetical this way, "(according to the Senate Judiciary Committee's website, there are 12 Democrats, including Al Franken, and 7 Republicans)".
7.9.2009 6:44pm
Dave N (mail):
Angus,

Thay may be, but the ADDITION of Senator Franken to the committee exacerbates the ratio problem.
7.9.2009 6:46pm
RPT (mail):
JR:

Why do you think Mr. Cordero is not on the minority witness list as an aggrieved litigant?
7.9.2009 8:04pm
ArthurKirkland:
After reviewing the lineups, I expect the Democrats to win, and it probably won't be close.
7.9.2009 11:46pm
Jon Roland (mail) (www):
RPT:

Why do you think Mr. Cordero is not on the minority witness list as an aggrieved litigant?

As a former volunteer on Capitol Hill who helped arrange hearings and lining up witnesses, I learned that it is not to investigate, but to put on a show in which the well-connected or celebrities will say what they are programmed to say.

At one Senate hearing I was standing on the side of the room feeding questions to the senators and the answers to the witnesses, neither of which had a clue about the subject matter.
7.10.2009 12:14am
Mark N. (www):

As a former volunteer on Capitol Hill who helped arrange hearings and lining up witnesses, I learned that it is not to investigate, but to put on a show in which the well-connected or celebrities will say what they are programmed to say.

There was some interesting empirical research that attempted to quantify the accuracy of "expert" testimony to come up with track records, especially for predictions, using various models of what constituted accuracy, and how to weight things like false positives, false negatives, hedged bets, etc. They found, among other things, that while most traditional measures of expertise actually had little effect on accuracy (status, job, etc.), being the sort of ideologue that Congress loves to call on both sides had a very noticeable negative effect on accuracy, which is probably not surprising to anyone. So I suppose it's just as well that they aren't actually trying to get information out of such hearings.

The author has the only slightly tongue-in-cheek suggestion that maybe the public would be well served by appending batting averages of sorts to expert commentary, even with generous error ranges, like "So-and-so, Economist, Some Institute, 10-40% accuracy".
7.10.2009 6:07am

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