Sotomayor's Rope-A-Dope Strategy Looks Familiar

Nominee gives little insight into her true feelings on controversial issues

By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 14, 2009 3:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – As Sonia Sotomayor’s question-and-answer session with the Senate Judiciary Committee continues today, the Supreme Court nominee is deploying a familiar strategy, Andrew Cohen writes for CBS News. It's the Rope-a-Dope, much like the one used by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Roberts, and Samuel Alito in their confirmation hearings. Simply put: She’s being evasive, cleverly declining to answer any question that touches controversial issues.

“She’s got the votes and doesn’t really have to convince anyone who is not already convinced she should get the job,” Cohen notes—so why rock any boats? Oddly enough, while giving the cold shoulder to committee Democrats, Sotomayor has provided the most thorough answers to her political antagonists, be it Jeff Sessions on the “wise Latina” comment or Orrin Hatch on the Ricci firefighters case.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, questions Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor today.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, questions Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor today.   (AP Photo)
Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor testifies on Capitol Hill today.
Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor testifies on Capitol Hill today.   (AP Photo)
Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is seen on a video monitor as she testifies on Capitol Hill today.
Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is seen on a video monitor as she testifies on Capitol Hill today.   (AP Photo)
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Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked perfectly legitimate questions about domestic surveillance and got a very polite "thanks, but no thanks" response from the nominee. You keep your friends close and your enemies closer, I guess.
- Andrew Cohen

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