July 09, 2009

Two Firefighters Listed as Witnesses for Sotomayor Hearing

The list of witnesses invited to testify at the Sotomayor hearings next week has just been released by the Judiciary Committee (hat tip Jonathan Adler at Bench Memos). Two firefighters involved in the Ricci case, including lead plaintiff Frank Ricci and Lieutenant Ben Vargas, are listed as witnesses for the Republicans. Incidentally, Vargas was the only minority firefighter (he is of Puerto Rican decent) to join Ricci and the 18 other firemen who scored highly on the New Haven exam in his discrimination suit that made its way to the Supreme Court.

Other notable witnesses on the GOP side include National Rifle Association board member and former president Sandy Froman, Center for Equal Opportunity President Linda Chavez, and Dr. Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life. These selections suggest that Sotomayor's views on the Second Amendment, racial preferences, and abortion will be featured as prominent themes in the hearings, at least on the minority side.

For the Democrats, the witness list contains a number of law enforcement officials, such as National President of the Fraternal Order of Police Chuck Canterbury and former FBI director Louis Freeh. It appears that liberals hope to tout Sotomayor's "tough on crime" record to win the favor of Republicans who are wary of her antipathy toward the Second Amendment. The list is also heavily weighted with Hispanic and civil rights leaders, no doubt to burnish her credentials as a "wise Latina." One of the most interesting choices is David Cone, a former MLB pitcher. I'm not entirely certain how Sotomayor's ruling that "saved baseball" by ending the 1995 strike is relevant to her qualification for the Supreme Court, but hopefully the Democrats will clear that one up for us next week.

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