Nobody expects Sonia Sotomayor to have serious trouble winning confirmation to the Supreme Court; the hearings that start today will be battles for American hearts and minds, with both parties seeing them as an opportunity to position themselves on key issues, the Washington Post reports. Aiming to ignite their base, conservatives will try to show that Sotomayor’s “empathy” for various groups precludes fair judgment; Democrats, meanwhile, hope that aggressive Republican questioning will speed the departure of Latinos from the GOP.
Issues of guns, abortion, affirmative action, race and gender will be in the spotlight, with activists on both sides prepping press releases interpreting the result of the hearings. Hearing “watch parties” are planned in 30 states. Today, each of 19 senators will begin with opening statements; later Sotomayor will speak. Questioning will take place tomorrow and Wednesday, and Thursday will see testimony from both sides.