Cardin on Sotomayor: Mark him down as a "yes"
Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, on her second day of courtesy calls on Capitol Hill, met today with Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin.
The Maryland Democrat, a member of the Judiciary committee, went out on a limb and described the Appeals Court judge from New York as "very impressive," with an "incredible" resume.
He did not say, of course, how he'll vote after the Judiciary committee holds its confirmation hearing sometime this summer. Otherwise, why bother to have that session, with its intense media coverage, quotes in the paper, pictures on the TV news, cable chat appearances, and so on?
But it's safe to assume that Cardin (and the rest of the panel's Democrats) will give her a big thumbs up, unless someone uncovers a murder weapon with Sotomayor's fingerprints on it sometime in the next few weeks.
"Our conversation was very forthright. We talked about a wide range of issues including the protections found in the Constitution. I found her responses to be very frank and open," the Democratic senator said.
In the prepared statement, released after the meeting in his office (though it could have been written in advance), Cardin said he was "impressed by her candor and willingness to answer my questions about how she would go about deciding constitutional issues that might come before her, should she be confirmed."
Should she be confirmed, Sotomayor would, be the first Hispanic justice, only the third woman to serve on the nation's highest court and the first selection by a Democratic president to join the conservative court in more than 15 years.
Cardin didn't say whether he and Sotomayor discussed her views on abortion (highly unlikely). But he did, in general terms, describe what his own litmus test would be: "ensuring that the next Supreme Court justice is a leader who holds a passion for the protections found in our Constitution and wioll uphold the precedents of the Court.
"I want the next justice to have a clear record of standing up for civil rights and civil liberties, as the court is the last refuge for the individual to stand up for abuses of government power."
Plenty of maneuvering room there for Sotomayor (or just about anybody else that Obama would be likely to send up) to win Cardin's approval. And no word on either the senator or the judge touched any of the cookies that were thoughtfully laid out for their tete-a-tete.