These Hearings Are All About the Next Nominee

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2009 9:52 PM CDT
Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor listens to Sen. Jeff Sessions's, R-Ala., pictured on the television screen.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – Three days, no bombshells: Sonia Sotomayor is a done deal for the Supreme Court. The humdrum proceedings still have value, however, write Peter Baker and Charlie Savage in the New York Times. It's all about the next nominee, and that could be a much bigger fight. If nothing else, Republicans want to make it harder for President Obama to pick a "full-throated" liberal next time around—and Sotomayor's testimony may be helping.

She has retreated under GOP questioning from Obama's assertion that a judge needs empathy and from the liberal sentiment that the Constitution is a "living" document with an evolving meaning. If Obama picks someone who differs, Republicans “now can say, ‘You don’t meet the Sotomayor test,'" says a conservative analyst. But a liberal counterpart says none of that will matter if she passes by a comfortable margin, because that will give Obama the "firm foundation" to move leftward on future picks.