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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
Number of countries thought to possess chemical weapons:
Placebos are more effective if the drugs for which they stand in are said to be more expensive.
In Torrance, California, an African grey parrot named Nigel, who once spoke English with a British accent and had returned home after a four-year absence, began asking for someone named “Larry” and speaking Spanish.
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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.”