If anyone ever doubted that United States senators love to talk, they had only to turn on the television yesterday and -- if they could stay awake -- watch the members of the Judiciary Committee blabbing endlessly about their favorite subject (baseball) while Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor sat at her table and said next to nothing.
Senators' opening statements ranged from the brief to the lengthy, many involving invocations of the loathsome "umpire" metaphor that got the blandly sinister John Roberts through his confirmation hearings. Senator John Cornyn, to the great distress of his peers, didn't get the memo and mistakenly uttered something about "quarterbacks," which we should just assume is obscure Texan slang for "umpire."
The point of these statements appears to be twofold: first, to have it entered into the record that the senators were in fact present for these very important confirmation hearings, and second, to register their approval or dislike of this nominee before she is almost inevitably approved.
Lindsey Graham summed it up early in a quote that allowed reporters to pretty much stop paying attention for the rest of the day: "Unless you have a complete meltdown, you are going to get confirmed."
And Judge Sotomayor was denied her opportunity for a meltdown by all these awful senators who kept talking about baseball, or about how honored they were to be sitting there jawing about baseball. She gave a relatively brief statement at the end of yesterday.
What will happen today? Could it possibly be more boring than yesterday? What will Sotomayor say about that "wise Latina" deal, and how will she explain away her troubling lack of dexterity when it comes to navigating airports? We can only wait, and watch, and hope.