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Sotomayor hearings: A Joe Biden connection to the committee proceedings

July 16, 2009 | 11:41 am

Tott-cynthia_kmvpfync Television viewers might have been wondering about the blond woman who sat behind Sonia Sotomayor during the confirmation hearings. She has been there every day, trying hard to look impassive and -- near the end of the day -- to keep her eyes fully open. She’s Cynthia Hogan, the top lawyer to Vice President Joe Biden and the person responsible for shepherding Sotomayor through Congress.

She has plenty of experience, having gone to work for Biden as a young lawyer for the Judiciary Committee in 1991, just as Clarence Thomas was nominated to the Supreme Court.

Hogan played an important behind-the-scenes role in the Anita Hill affair, particularly in privately questioning Angela Wright, who was initially prepared to testify that she had also been sexually harassed by Thomas at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission  but backed out at the last minute. Had Wright testified, Thomas might not be on the court today.

-- Timothy M. Phelps

Photo: Cynthia Hogan, right. Credit: Karen Bleier / AFP/Getty Images

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