No Comment — July 15, 2009, 9:13 am

Jeff Sessions’s Big Day

This week marked the beginning of Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on President Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. But in the minds of many observers, Sotomayor was upstaged as the central figure at the hearings. They have become “about” Jeff Sessions, the Alabama senator who made his first appearance on center stage as ranking member for the Republicans and leader of their effort to derail the nomination. But yesterday was a decidedly bad day for Sessions. As the New Yorker’s Jeff Toobin put it in an appearance on CNN: “What’s worth noting about what Jeff Sessions — the line of questioning, was that being a white man, that’s normal. Everybody else has biases and prejudices … but the white man, they don’t have any ethnicity, they don’t have any gender, they’re just like the normal folks, and I thought that was a little jarring.” Put differently, Sessions’s race- and gender-obsessed questioning ultimately told us much more about the questioner than the nominee. Read my take on the first two days of the Sotomayor hearings at the Daily Beast, and don’t miss Rachel Maddow’s powerful revisit of the Sessions questioning.

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I sat in a taxi with Emma and her son, Stak, all three bodies muscled into the rear seat, and the boy checked the driver’s I.D. and immediately began to speak to the man in an unrecognizable language.

I conferred quietly with Emma, who said he was studying Pashto, privately, in his spare time. Afghani, she said, to enlighten me further.

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