Bless Sen. Grassley. He tries.
At the END of his second round of questioning Judge Sotomayor just now, he did what he should have done within his FIRST round of questioning yesterday, and then certainly should have done at the beginning of his second round. He put her on the spot about how landowner Didden should have been expected to file suit against the eminent domain “taking” of his land a full year and half before his land actually was taken. The way Grassley’s question was worded was perfect. It covered all the bases — for a FIRST question upon returning to the subject. The problem, though, was that it was at the end of his question period — so it allowed Sotomayor to give an answer that actually sounded rather convincing, to the untrained ear, even though her answer was utterly full of balderdash.
And then Grassley’s time was up, so he didn’t even get the chance to note all the ways her answer was utter balderdash. It came off sounding as if he asked a tough question and she answered it fully and well. She got the last word, sounding good doing it, even though her word was intellectually indefensible if you know the case — and indefensible even to the untrained ear fairly easily IF Grassley had given himself time for follow-up in this, his final round of questioning. As this is a crucially important case, his failure to give himself a proper chance to drive home his point was a real oversight, a real failure. And this is even though he merits credit for bringing up the topic not once but twice, and for how he and his staff worded the question the second time around.
Again, what this shows is a failing of the GOP senators to understand how these hearings can and should be used for public elucidation and for shaping public opinion. It’s as if they are throwing lots of good spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks, rather than having already figured out for themselves which recipes are likely to be delicious.
What a shame. A little more effort, a little more planning, would have REALLY made a difference.