Sessions to call white firefighters in Sotomayor hearings

The Judiciary Committee's lead Republican wants plaintiffs from the judge's most controversial case on TV

Topics: Sonia Sotomayor, War Room, Jeff Sessions,

The Senate Judiciary Committee has just released the witness list for hearings on the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, which will begin Monday. It provides a pretty strong insight into the Republicans’ plans for opposing Sotomayor: Hit her hard, and often, on race and guns.

Two names, especially, stick out in the Republicans’ witness list: Frank Ricci, the director of Fire Services with the Connecticut Council on Occupational Safety and Health, and Lieutenant Ben Vargas of the New Haven Fire Department. Ricci was the named plaintiff from one of the most controversial rulings in which Sotomayor has taken part, Ricci v. DeStefano.

The case centered around a test given to firefighters in New Haven, Conn., who were seeking promotion; the results of the test would have meant 13 out of 15 available promotions would go to whites, two to Hispanics and none to African Americans. Because of the lack of racial balance, the city elected to throw out the test and try to come up with some more equitable system. Sotomayor voted in favor of the city and against the group of firefighters who sued; the Supreme Court recently reversed that decision.

As my colleague Glenn Greenwald quipped when the news broke, the two firefighters are unlikely to be asked to comment on the complex legal issues involved in their case. Instead, ironically, their testimony is going to be about the dreaded “empathy,” making Sotomayor out to be a racist victimizing innocent white firefighters.

Other big names on the list, like Sandy Froman, the former president of the NRA, suggest that Sotomayor’s rulings on the Second Amendment will also be a big issue. And, of course, there’s at least one witness there to talk about social issues: Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life.

The Democrats’ list seems to hint mostly that they’ll want to emphasize Sotomayor’s long resume and her performance in her various jobs. But they’re not above a bit of showmanship, either: They’ll be calling former New York Mets pitcher David Cone, presumably to talk about Sotomayor’s ruling that ended the 1995 Major League Baseball strike.

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>