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Confirming Sotomayor: Quell the rush

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Here's a question regarding U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor that the Obama White House needs to answer: What's the hurry, especially when Democrat control of the Senate virtually guarantees her confirmation?

A similarly unseemly stampede toward confirmation of a Republican president's Supreme Court nominee by a GOP-controlled Senate would beg the same question.

The problem is not partisanship but a pace at odds with the Senate's constitutional duty of "advice and consent."

The White House counsel bragged online about Ms. Sotomayor's unusually swift completion of her nomination questionnaire. Senate Republicans rightly want more time to deal with matters left out of her responses.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, has set Sotomayor's hearing to start July 13, just 48 days after her nomination; for Chief Justice John Roberts, it was 55 days. Again, GOP senators' desire for more time is legitimate, particularly because the Supreme Court's next term doesn't begin until Oct. 5.

Supreme Court justices are appointed for life, so haste in confirming them is extraordinarily unwise. The breakneck speed with which the White House and Senate Democrats are moving toward Sotomayor's confirmation does a disservice to her, the Senate, the high court and the nation.

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Sonia Sotomayor

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