Over at my blog, HughHewitt.com, I have written a couple of posts urging Republican senators and conservative activists to exercise great caution in their approach to the nomination of Judge Sotomayor. The judge has a long record of service and accomplishment, and an inspiring personal story of hard work and achievement against a backdrop of a childhood lived under straightened circumstances. This is the sort of story that Republicans cheered when it was part of the case for Justice Thomas and Justice Alito, and we ought to cheer it again. America is a great, great land of opportunity that allows even its recent arrivals to the mainland to provide education and opportunity for their children. Judge Sotomayor's parents must have made remarkable sacrifices for their children, and the judge must have matched those sacrifices with incredible hard work.
An appreciation for this background should be on the lips of every GOP senator before the questions begin, and the questions that follow should focus on the law, and especially on the rights and freedoms that allow for such incredible opportunity to flourish. It would be time well spent for one or more Republican senators to focus their inquiries on the rights in the First, Second and Fifth Amendments. In the future I will suggest some questions about the Tenth Amendment that also should make it into the conversation.
Free speech and religious freedom are under pressure in a variety of places across the U.S. Judge Sotomayor ought to be asked about California's campaign finance laws that oblige donors to be listed in an era of internet search engines and which led to the harsh harassment of supporters of California's Proposition 8. She ought also to be asked about the increasingly bizarre set of campaign finance rules that saw John McCain outspent by a factor of three or four to one by President Obama, and which allow millionaires and billionaires to self-finance huge war chests, or to use 527s and other devices to upend the appearance of balance in a campaign.