All these conclusions had been reported previously, but the live blog offered them in capsule form, and in one place. Markon’s prior reporting also allowed him to quickly fact-check statements from the senators, and to point out what was not being said in the hearing room. He noted, for example, that Chuck Schumer’s focus on a Sotomayor dissent in which she came down against family members of airplane crash victims—part of a strange effort to show she can be just as heartless as the next judge—obscured a broader trend in her jurisprudence. The sharp commentary, in turn, produced some good questions from readers. As the afternoon wore on, it was the Post blog that I found myself returning to not out of professional obligation, but genuine curiosity. Who knows? I might even check it out again Wednesday.
I wish I could say the same for the effort from SCOTUSblog, whose founder, Akin Gump partner Tom Goldstein, has been developing something of a media profile lately. Goldstein declared two weeks ago that the hearings would be a “complete non-event,” so his decision to host a live-blog seems a little curious. The results are a little curious, too. Goldstein and his co-blogger Kristina Moore offered a minute-by-minute narration of what was being said in the hearing room, interrupted occasionally by interesting analysis or sharp judgments and more often by comments on Al Franken’s note-taking, Chuck Grassley dozing off, and the general pointlessness of the proceedings.
A few direct quotations: “In this meaningless debate, [Sotomayor] is a bit ahead.” “No one here has any idea what’s going on, or cares.” “She’s still going, I think. I kind of dozed off there for a minute.” And my favorite, which came during Sotomayor’s colloquy with Orrin Hatch: “No one without a law degree has a remote clue about what’s going on.” It was my hope, as one of the benighted, non-JD holding people out there, that the accomplished lawyers at SCOTUSblog would help me get my bearings. But after reading through their output for the day, I remained mostly clueless.