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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
Percentage increase in the annual number of polio cases in Pakistan since 2005:
A bowl of 4,000-year-old noodles was found in northwestern China; and a spokesman for the Chinese Academy of Sciences said that “this is the earliest empirical evidence of noodles ever found.”
A federal judge sentenced the journalist Barrett Brown to 63 months in prison for sharing a link to information stolen from the private-intelligence firm Stratfor by a hacker in 2011. “Good news!” Brown said in a statement. “They’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex.”
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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.”