For the past couple days, the network and cable news channels have looked more like CSPAN, thanks to the nonstop coverage of Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Although the hearings have been rigidly structured, stuffy and sort of dry, there is always something to keep the media watchers watching.
On Monday we sat nervously awaiting new senator and former “SNL” cast member Al Franken’s opening remarks — and they were actually pretty good. And yesterday, we were riveted by Sotomayor’s rapidly blinking eyelids and serious note-taking, and we lost count of the number of times the judge was asked about nunchuks or her “wise Latina” comments.
But after Sotomayor is — seemingly inevitably — confirmed, we will all go back to our regular lives of reading Page Six and watching Kathie Lee drink too much on the “Today” show, while a handful of dedicated reporters who cover the Supreme Court of the United States will continue to track the movements of the High Court and the integration of its new member.
If you’ve ever wondered how those on the SCOTUS beat feel about the circus that is a confirmation hearing, look no further. Mediaite.com’s Rachel Sklar quizzed Dahlia Lithwick, who works for Slate.com and The New York Times, CBS’s Andrew Cohen, Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSblog and Jeffrey Toobin, who we have been watching nonstop on CNN. Among the topics discussed: what other Supreme Court reporter’s coverage each correspondent is looking forward to, whether Sotomayor will fit in at the court, and the frenzy about the “Wise Latina” comments overshadowing things like Roe v. Wade.
“Nothing surprises me about the pre-confirmation hype any more,” Cohen said. “Typically, what is important gets overlooked and what isn’t is the focus.”
And not surprisingly, Supreme Court confirmation hearings don’t have great after-parties.
“If there are lots of parties I don’t know about ‘em,” Lithwick said. “Yes every legal journo around is here. I am going to a book party tonight. But if it’s Court Nerd Sundance Festival I am not on the right lists.”
Added Cohen: “It ain’t the Hamptons.”
(Photo Michael Reynolds/EPA via MSNBC)