July 28, 2009

Senator Grassley: Sotomayor "doesn't have a clear role of what the Supreme Court is."

Doesn't have a clear role of what the Supreme Court is?

He can't talk right, but he has a vote, and he's voting against Sonia Sotomayor.
Grassley said his vote in part is based on second thoughts he has had about Souter, confirmed in 1990.

"I can say my vote for him is probably the only vote for 11 or 12 Supreme Court justices that has come back to haunt me from time to time," Grassley said. "I think Judge Sotomayor's very lukewarm answer that she gave me left me with the same pit in my stomach I had as a result of my vote for Souter."
Pit in my stomach? Oh, good lord, he really can't talk right. From Common Errors in English:
Just as you can love someone from the bottom of your heart, you can also experience a sensation of dread in the pit (bottom) of your stomach. I don’t know whether people who mangle this common expression into “pit in my stomach” envision an ulcer, an irritating peach pit they’ve swallowed or are thinking of the pyloric sphincter; but they’ve got it wrong.
So, Sotomayor either does or does not make judicial decisions emanating from empathy and Wise Latina experience, and Grassley feels his decisions in his stomach and when they feel like the part of a fruit that he shouldn't have eaten — or when he's haunted — he votes no.

Does anybody have a clear role about anything anymore?

42 comments:

Quayle said...

My wife does. I take out the garbage. Very clear.

Fred4Pres said...

Can't someone on Senator Grassley's staff give him a brief explanation of why Judge Sotomayor is unqualified? This is just sad. She is going to be confirmed, but GOP Senators need to explain why that is a mistake. Apparently Senator Grassley is not qualified for his position either.

Salamandyr said...

If we got rid of all the unqualified people in office, we'd hardly have anyone left.

garage mahal said...

So, how ‘bout in honor of the American soldier, ya quite makin’ things up?

tarpon said...

It's really getting confusing when you make it up as you go.

Isn't the words lacks proper judicial temperament or too much bigotry appropriate?

NKVD said...

Come on - you have to forgive his inability to speak English - he's drunk.

MadisonMan said...

Grassley also said Sotomayor had not eased his fears that she would be guided in decision-making partly by her life's experience.

Um, Senator, how are you making this decision? The exact same way, maybe?

Wouldn't it be great if people like Grassley -- incumbents -- were voted out of office sometime?

Bissage said...

It sometimes helps to bear in mind that improvisational theater is usually bad theater.

kcom said...

"Um, Senator, how are you making this decision? The exact same way, maybe?"

Different situation entirely. Apples..oranges..you get the idea.

There are no laws or binding precedents governing who a senator should or shouldn't vote to confirm. That's why we have three separate branches of government, because they perform three different roles, each with their own requirements. If Sonia Sotomayor wants to emphasize her wise Latina side, perhaps it's better that she quit the court and run for Congress.

Marcia said...

He should just say, "This is payback for the Democrats who voted against Roberts and Alito."

It is succinct and has the advantage of being the truth.

traditionalguy said...

His words are for his contributors, not for analysis by excellence in communications gurus. He feels a need for contributions in the pit of his Commitee For Re-electing Senator Grassley. In this context, a "pit" is a sinking bank balance. We also use "a sinking feeling" as a description of dread as our "ship sinks". In the meantime the lead news story all week, all the time, is, "Republicans band together to Oppose the first Hispanic Justice who is nevertheless assured of confirmation so long as the Democrats keep their 60 vote Senate majority".

MadisonMan said...

I don't think it's apples and oranges. It would be if the laws being decided upon in the Supreme Court have very precise wording. But they don't. There is room in there for interpretation that the SC provides.

If in the past Judge Sotomayor has ruled some way that had an outcome she didn't expect/foresee, don't you think it's reasonable to use that experience in the future? And how is that different from Grassley saying Souter disappointed me, and Sotomayor seems the same?

Stop defending lying politicians. It only encourages them.

David Walser said...

Althouse,

Don't you generally cut speakers of the spoken word a lot more slack than you do writers of the written word? I'm not arguing that Grassley did a good job explaining his vote against confirmation. I'm saying his usage errors should carry no weight on the question. Both errors are of the type, when heard in extemporaneous remarks, our minds typically filter out. His meaning was clear -- Sotomayor had not explained adequately her view of the proper role of the Supreme Court. It's only when the extemporaneous remarks are quoted verbatim in a newspaper (without the usual editing) that the usage errors become both obvious and annoying.

holdfast said...

Of course, if Sen. Grassley and his colleagues would write clearer law, and not vote for things that violate the constitution (McCain-Feingold) then USSC judges would be a lot less important. Sototmayor is clearly on the week side of recent appointees, but she is not so weak as to be totally unfit. A definite affirmative action pick (like the rest of her career) but she is smart enough that it is not a total joke.

Skipper50 said...

Nobody can't talk English nomore.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Being unquotable is a good quality in a politician.

He can always say, "I misspoke," and you have to believe him.

Randy said...

Marcia is right. Madison Man has a fine idea, too.

kcom said...

"Stop defending lying politicians. It only encourages them."

I'm not defending him, I'm criticizing you. Your comparison is inapt. You should pick a new one.

AllenS said...

Maybe he meant roll. As in kaiser.

Ann Althouse said...

@David Walser I have no problem saying that Sotomayor's answers were terrible, but they were terrible in a different way.

As for spoken word, yeah, the standard is lower, but Grassley is below that standard.

Lem said...

"I think Judge Sotomayor's very lukewarm answer that she gave me left me with the same pit in my stomach I had as a result of my vote for Souter."

Any chance the pit might be an olive pit ;)

Jeremy said...

Since we're being picky, what stood out to me was that her answer was "very lukewarm." Also known as "radically central" or "extremely nominal."

-The Other Jeremy

Lem said...

Sotomayor left him with one big Spanish olive pit ;)

reader_iam said...

At least he's not Senator Harkin.

Lem said...

Grassley is going to show how the olive pit roles.

Zeb Quinn said...

People who have the same concerns he has understand perfectly well what he said. People who want Sotomayor confirmed choose to feign that they don't understand what he said and/or ridicule him for his mangled sentence.

SteveR said...

Too bad they can't tie a farm subsidy or some ethanol pork into the confirmation vote, he's be in like Flynn.

Lem said...

People who want Sotomayor confirmed choose to feign that they don't understand what he said and/or ridicule him for his mangled sentence.

Oh common, she is in. We might as well have some fun.

Randy said...

At least he's not Senator Harkin.

What a campaign slogan! ;-)

reader_iam said...

Grassley is from a very small town in Iowa (currently, fewer than 700 people live in New Hartford). While he did obtain degrees from (a non-Ivy league) college,he is among those senators who are NOT lawyers. Among his job roles prior to becoming a politician--his life's work--are farmer, sheet metal shearer and assembly line worker.

I think he prides himself on his "just folks" manner, mannerisms and speech patterns, and in his case it's not particularly a put-on (aside from his 50 years in one elective political office or another). But make no mistake, he can be a wiley one; and he's served his constituencies in Iowa rather well over the years, which is why they keep sending him back.

Paul Zrimsek said...

When I'm haunted I don't get a pit in my stomach, I get spines running up and down my back.

rhhardin said...

Most normal speech is a series of restarts and discontinuities.

The interesting thing is that it's very hard to transcribe exactly because you simply don't hear the disfluencies. If you did, communication would be very difficult.

Take any speech and set out to transcribe it with all the ah's and uh's and restarts, and see how hard it is.

TitusItsAHotOneToday,tankys for days said...

These senators in real america keep getting reelected because the give all the farmers and non farmers huge subsidies every year.

TitusItsAHotOneToday,tankys for days said...

I read an article about Olympia Snowe being the most powerful politician in DC, other than the one.

I am ok with that. She is fabulous.

Love her hair, the fact she is thin and her clothes.

TitusItsAHotOneToday,tankys for days said...

Grassley reminds me of a character in the movie Fargo-one of my all time favorite movies.

Last night I looked into getting a cabin in Phillips or Winter, Wisconsin. Very small communities surrounded by beautiful lakes. thank you.

Zeb Quinn said...

Oh common, she is in. We might as well have some fun.

Her being in has been pretty much a given from the getgo. So I don't know how much if at all what that's got to do with it.

Cedarford said...

Ann Althouse said...
@David Walser I have no problem saying that Sotomayor's answers were terrible, but they were terrible in a different way.

As for spoken word, yeah, the standard is lower, but Grassley is below that standard.


If Grassley is understandable, but not precise in his words, but in the Althousian World, still below the standard of the spoken language....where exactly does Sarah Palin stand?

We know she isn't a dead fish, floating downstream. No, she was more like a duck. But she didn't want to be a duck, she wanted to stop being a duck to better serve the people of Alaska. " An' troops are dying overseas fightin' for the media's freedom of speech, so people gotta be accurate. So, how ‘bout in honor of the American soldier, ya quite makin’ things up?"

David Walser said...

Back @Althouse:

...As for spoken word, yeah, the standard is lower, but Grassley is below that standard.

Do you mean that in general or in this particular case? If he generally speaks in such a manner, then I'll grant your point. (I don't follow the Senator and have no idea whether he's articulate or not.)

If you are referring only to this particular case, I still think it's probable you're being a tad unfair. Senator Grassley spoke with an newspaper reporter. Even if we grant the reporter the courtesy of assuming Grassley was quoted accurately, we have no idea whether the quoted material accurately conveys the scope of Grassley's usage errors. Nor do we have any idea of the circumstances under which Grassley spoke with the reporter. For example, if, during a conversation that lasted 15 minutes, Grassley only committed these two usage errors, many would feel it unfair to harp on the two errors as proof "Grassley is below [the] standard [for the spoken word]." On the other hand, if Grassley only gave a 30 second interview that consisted of three or four sentences, two of which were mangled beyond repair, you'd have a point.

You'd have a point, that is, unless Grassley were trying to carry on three or four conversations with several reporters at the same time. If Grassley were interrupted in the midst of explaining his vote and it was the interruption that caused the usage error, then it might be considered a little petty to dwell on the error.

My point is we don't know anything about what Grassley said except what the newspaper chose to print. In general, I believe it unfair to make too big a deal of usage errors -- particularly when we are unaware of the circumstances in which the errors were made.

NOTE: If I were a Senator I'd vote to confirm Sotomayor. I would have preferred someone else, but I believe presidents should be granted a lot of deference and nothing Sotomayor has said or done causes me to believe that deference should not be respected in this instance.

Alex said...

I can see Althouse has yet again fallen for the racial politics of preying on "guilty white people" like you. It was the same thing in 2008 voting for Obama. You just refuse to learn your lessons.

VOTE NO ON WISE LATINA!!!

bagoh20 said...

garage mahal said:

"So, how ‘bout in honor of the American soldier, ya quite makin’ things up?"


Smart people get important messages, even if they're colloquial bigots.

I hope you don't choose ridicule when the cop says: "Git yer hans up."

Ever hear Obama turn on the Ebonics. I bet you consider that a strength. I do too, albeit phony since he grew up white.

Roger J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger J. said...

Grassley should just quote Senator Obama's remarks when Obama voted against Roberts.