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Monday, July 13, 2009

Historic Hearing Begins Today

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee begins its hearings on the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s choice to replace Associate Justice David Souter. Things kick off at 10 am this morning, and all eyes will be on the historic confirmation hearing of this exceptionally qualified woman.

On Friday, we wrote about some of the larger themes that will emerge from the hearings, and you’ll see the groundwork for that laid today. There will be very little questioning of Judge Sotomayor on the first day of the hearing. The bulk of the day will be devoted to opening statements from each and every senator on the committee. All 19 of them. Each will have 10 minutes to speak (or grandstand, in some cases), in order of seniority alternating between Democrats and Republicans.

After the senators have their chance in the spotlight, we expect Judge Sotomayor to enter the limelight at around 2pm this afternoon. Be ready when she raises her hand when she’s sworn in: every camera in the hearing room will be going off, creating a blinding array of flashes and a cacophony of shutters closing.

Judge Sotomayor is no stranger to the Senate Judiciary Committee; she has been confirmed twice already, first to her district court seat, and then for her seat on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, though a Supreme Court hearing brings with a much greater level of attention and scrutiny. So, there will likely still be drama at the hearing--. and we’ll be bringing you commentary every step of the way. Follow AFJ President Nan Aron on Twitter and check back here regularly for updates. For more about Judge Sonia Sotomayor, please see our Supreme Court Watch page.

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