Democrats have set a July 13 start date for the Sotomayor confirmation hearings and will, no doubt, insist on a vote by the full Senate before the lawmakers leave town in August. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday left the door open on a filibuster — citing the Demcorats’ own precedent and concerns that Democrats are trying to rush through the hearing without fully examining Sotomayor’s record. He explained:
Well, you know, the Democrats filibustered seven times a Hispanic American nominee named Miguel Estrada during the Bush administration. I think we ought to judge these nominees on their merits, not their ethnicity or gender. And with regard to Judge Sotomayor, I think the key is just to finish the job. For example, just a day or so ago, we discovered that there are 300 boxes of additional material that has just been discovered from her time working with the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund.
Three hundred boxes? It seems so. The Republicans have few tools at their disposal to stop a nomination. However, if it appears that the Democrats are trying to hide the ball on precisely the issue which gives conservatives the biggest concern — Sotomayor’s affinity for identity politics — they may feel empowered to at least slow down the train. After all, if Democrats think race preferences, bilingualism and multiculturalism are winning issues they shouldn’t fear a methodical exploration of Sotomayor’s views, right?