Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Sotomayor Show Trials

The three-ring circus has begun. Hot Air has streaming video.

It's important to consider why the Constitution required Senate confirmation (or "advise and consent"). Originally, as most of the readers of this blog know, the Senate was considered the calm, sane counterpoint to the hot-blooded House. Having a Senate one step removed from the public opinion allowed its members to engage in more thoughtful, less pandering behavior. As it is now, Senators must appeal to the lowest common denominator in society, which is why this has become more "show trial" than Constitutional process. Byron York points out the ease with which an agenda is hidden from public scrutiny.

Republicans and Democrats have already reached the agreement that she will be confirmed, barring any major shift in public opinion. The party system that the 17th Amendment established shifted government into back room deals, where policy is made in shadowy, smoke-filled rooms while the public is distracted by the bright lights and loud noises of a common street magician's act.

Sotomayor's confirmation hearings are merely a show trial, designed to give the parties more ammunition in the war for public opinion. The pandering to different groups pits Americans against each other, as each believes his race, her gender, his class, her ethnicity, every individual's identity group is under attack. Everything is reduced to the lowest common denominator in the struggle to win the next election. And what is lost in all this?

Our freedom. Our freedom is worth less to our government than our votes are.

If we seek to have a government more interested in our individual freedom than pandering, we must repeal the 17th Amendment.

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