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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.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”