JOHN CORNYN (R): Do you believe that judges ever change the law?

[Let me clarify: I don’t think they should when people like you are on the bench.]

JOHN CORNYN (R): You wrote that the law judges declare is not, quote, “a definitive capital-L Law that would many would like to think exists,” and, quote, “that the public fails to appreciate the importance of indefiniteness in the law.” Can you explain those statements?

[The Law is like the Bible: it has always said what I say it said the moment I say it said it.]

JOHN CORNYN (R): In a 2001 speech at Berkeley, you wrote that “whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences . . . our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.” The difference is physiological if it relates to the mechanical, physical, or biochemical functions of the body, as I understand the word. What do you mean by that?

[I’m a convenient egalitarian and I’m going to pretend your statement applies to judges on the bench instead of whether we ought to let blind people be fighter pilots .]

JOHN CORNYN (R): We’re not talking about pilots.

[Enough with the pilots already. If you don’t stop addressing the substance of your argument, I won’t be able to trick you into saying you believe ridiculous things.]

JOHN CORNYN (R): So you stand by the comment or the statement that inherent physiological differences will make a difference in judging?

[Why won’t you walk into my trap? It says it right there: THIS IS A TRAP. Are you fucking illiterate?]

JOHN CORNYN (R): I’m struggling a little bit to understand how your statement about physiological differences could affect the outcome or affect judging and your stated commitment to fidelity to the law as being your sole standard and how any litigant can know where that will end. But let me ask you on another topic.

[Fine. If you don’t like that trap, I have others.]

JOHN CORNYN (R): There was a Washington Post story that said, “The White House scrambled yesterday to assuage worries from liberal groups about Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s scant record on abortion rights.” It goes on to say, “the White House press secretary said the president did not ask Sotomayor specifically about abortion rights during their interview.” If that’s the case, on what basis would White House officials subsequently send a message that abortion rights groups do not need to worry about how you might rule in a challenge to Roe v. Wade?

[How exactly would the mainstream liberals in the White House know what a mainstream liberal like yourself believes?]

JEFFERSON BEAUREGARD SESSIONS, III (R): I would offer a letter for the record from the National Rifle Association in which they express serious concern about the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor. I would also offer for the record a letter from Mr. Richard Land, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, also raising concerns.

[That’ll teach them to say that conservatives cling bitterly to God and guns.]

TOM COBURN (R): I want to begin here today by looking at your cases in an area that is very important to many of us, and that’s the Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms.

[Although we are very much about guns.]

TOM COBURN (R): What is the definition of death?

[. . . and killing things.]

TOM COBURN (R): If we now have viability at 21 weeks, why would that not be something that should be considered as we look at the status of what can and cannot happen, in terms of this right to privacy that’s been granted under Roe v. Wade in cases?

[. . . except when those things haven’t been born.]

TOM COBURN (R): So I sit in Oklahoma in my home, and what we have today as law in the land, as you see it, is that I do not have a fundamental incorporated right to bear arms, as you see the law today?

[. . . and also guns.]

ORRIN HATCH (R): You have described your judicial philosophy in terms of the phrase “fidelity to the law.” Would you agree with me that both majority and dissenting justices in last year’s gun rights decision in District of Columbia v. Heller were doing their best to be faithful to the text and history of the Second Amendment?

[I think Senator Coburn neglected to mention that we are all about guns.]

ORRIN HATCH (R): So let me ask you just about a few abortion cases in which the [Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund] filed briefs.

[. . . and things that haven’t been born. ]

LINDSEY GRAHAM (R): When you look at the fundamental right aspect of the Second Amendment, you’ll be looking at precedent, you will be looking in our history, you will be looking at a lot of things. Hopefully, you’ve talked to your godchild, who’s an NRA member. You can be — you can assimilate your view of what America is all about when it comes to Second Amendment.

[. . . and also guns.]

LINDSEY GRAHAM (R):We’ve talked a lot about the Second Amendment.

[But not nearly enough to my liking.]

LINDSEY GRAHAM (R): Is there any personal judgment to be relied upon by a Supreme Court justice in deciding whether or not the 2nd Amendment is a fundamental right?

[So how about another go-round about guns?]

LINDSEY GRAHAM (R): I have nothing but great admiration and respect for those men and women who serve in our Judge Advocate Corps who will be given the obligation by our nation to render justice against people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. And I just want to say this, also, on this historic day. To those who wonder why we do this, why do we give him a trial? Why are we so concerned about him having his day in court? Why do we give him a lawyer when we know what he would do to our people in his hands?

[Fine. If you dn’t want to talk about guns, we can always talk about people I want to shoot. Why should people I want to shoot get fair trials?]

LINDSEY GRAHAM (R): And I want the world to understand that America is not a bad place because we will hold Al Qaida members under a process that is fair, transparent until they die.

[Because it’s not like we ever actually get to shoot them. Why isn’t the world proud of us for not giving into temptation and shooting the lot of them?]

LINDSEY GRAHAM (R): Do you embrace identity politics personally?

[So long as we’re talking about brown people . . . ]

LINDSEY GRAHAM (R): Do you believe that your speeches properly read embrace identity politics?

[. . . because I think they do.]

LINDSEY GRAHAM (R): And you have said some things that just bugged the hell out of me.

[They just bugged the hell out of me.]

LINDSEY GRAHAM (R): I think and believe, based on what I know about you so far, that you’re broad-minded enough to understand that America is bigger than the Bronx, it’s bigger than South Carolina.

[But it’s a lot more like South Carolina than the Bronx.]

LINDSEY GRAHAM (R): The last question on the “wise Latina woman” comment.

[Unless we all have our fingers crossed.]

LINDSEY GRAHAM (R): I hope you understand the difference between petitioning one’s government and having a say in the electoral process, and voting for people that if you don’t like you can get rid of, and the difference of society being changed by nine unelected people who have a lifetime appointment. Do you understand the difference in how those two systems work?

[I don’t want to sound insulting, but have you ever taken a high school civics class?]

LINDSEY GRAHAM (R): The bottom line is, one of the problems the court has now is that Mr. Ricci has a story to tell, too. There are all kinds of stories to tell in this country, and the court has, in the opinion of many of us, gone into the business of societal change not based on the plain language of the Constitution, but based on motivations that can never be checked at the ballot box.

[Because I plainly haven’t, as you can tell by the fact that I think the Constitution is written in language as plain as the King James Bible.]

LINDSEY GRAHAM (R): Some states have different age limits for marriage. Some states treat marriage differently than others.

[Which is that book that stars Jesus as God and is all about how much they both hate the gays.]

JOHN CORNYN (R): The test is really, what kind of justice will you be if confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States? Will you be one that adheres to a written Constitution and written laws and respects the right of the people to make their laws through their elected representatives, or will you pursue some other agenda, personal, political, ideological, that is something other than enforcing the law?

[This is all completely hypothetical. I’m not talking about the gays here.]

JOHN CORNYN (R): What should I tell my constituents who are watching these hearings and saying to themselves, “In Berkeley and other places around the country, she says one thing, but at these hearings, you are saying something which sounds contradictory, if not diametrically opposed, to some of the things you’ve said in speeches around the country”?

[Because everyone knows the gays live in San Fransisco, not Berkeley. Which raises an interesting question: are now, or have you ever been, a hippie?]

JOHN CORNYN (R): If the Supreme Court in the next few years holds that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, would that be making the law? Or would that be interpreting the law?

[What I said about this not being about the gays? I lied. But only a little, as I now want to impugn the character of the guy who nominated you.]

JOHN CORNYN (R): Judge Sotomayor, what is the difference, to your mind, between a political contribution and a bribe?

[I ask this disinterestedly, as someone who has never accepted a political contribution in his life: to whom is Obama beholden?]

JOHN CORNYN (R): Last year, President Obama set a record in fundraising from private sources, raising an unprecedented amount of campaign contributions. Do you think . . . that President Obama can say with credibility that he’s carrying out the mandate of a democratic society?

[For the next two minutes, I will pretend that contributing to a political campaign is an overt act of communism. Judge Sotomayor, will you tear down that wall?]

CHARLES GRASSLEY (R): I believe that I’m going to ask you something you never been asked before during this hearing, I hope.


CHARLES GRASSLEY (R): Following what you said about certain things being about precedent, I assume that you’ve answered a lot of questions before this committee about, even after you said that certain things are precedent, of things that are going to come before the court down the road if you’re on the Supreme Court. You didn’t seem to compromise or hedge on those things being precedent. Why are you hedging on this?

[We should have a theoretical conversation about your oft-stated commitment to precedent.]

CHARLES GRASSLEY (R): The issue of is it a federal question or not a federal question. So do you agree that marriage is a question reserved for the states to decide based on Baker v. Nelson?

[Don’t you think that individual states ought to be able to decide whether or not they let their ga—what is your generic opinion about how the federal should handle who individual states let marry?]