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Sotomayor hearings: Word count -- Senators out-talk her 2 to 1 (Updated)

Senate Judiciary Chairman Democrat Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont

(UPDATE: Well now our good friend Thomas De Senso, the first one to think of this, has completed his word-count analysis of the Sotomayor testimony, and shown that those senators who said they were so eager to hear what she had to say were actually a whole lot more eager to hear what they themselves had to say. Check this out.

(More importantly, check out diligent Thomas' stunning conclusions here: Just on the fourth and final day of testimony -- as laboriously transcribed in this space -- the senators allowed other witnesses to collectively speak more than 5,000 words more on that one day than they allowed Judge Sotomayor to utter during her entire time on the stand. Talk about yada-yada!)

Yada yada yada. According to some politics blog -- we'll call it Top of the Ticket -- that's been publishing the entire transcript of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination, the senators perched in their official comfy chairs behind their nifty nameplates said they're just so very pleased to have the nice nominee appear before them.

As if Sotomayor had a choice, assuming she still wants the robe job across the street.

La-na-sotomayorResponse-tn They are so happy to see her, the committee senators said, because they are all so very eager to hear in her own words what she thinks and how she thinks and explore her all-American story from dJudge Sonia Sotomayor has been forced to do a lot of listening at her hearinga Bronx.

One problem: According to an unofficial word count, these guys are out-talking the nominee.

Better than two senatorial words for each one of hers after only two days.

And that was before Arlen Specter opened his mouth for questions.

As of Wednesday morning, the senators had spouted 50,082 words.

In response Judge Sotomayor had been able to utter barely 20,000 words (20,728, to be exact).

Monday was the worst day: senators 23,175,  Sotomayor 942.

Some "hearing." Maybe they ought to call it a "talking."

Here's how we know this: The Ticket's good friend Thomas De Seno has an outrageous theory that politicians love to talk -- more precisely, they love to hear themselves talk. These legislators, De Seno holds, are the kind of folks who say things like, "But that's enough about me. What do you think of my legislation?"

So De Seno set himself a tall task. Using The Ticket's transcript, he started counting every word uttered in this week of meetings. (Having processed all those words, we're going to accept his total without a Minnesota recount.)

And if you agree with De Seno's theory, you won't be surprised to learn that he's correct.

The Judiciary Committee members, lead by Democrat Chairman Pat Leahy of Vermont (see top photo), are not doing a whole lot of hearing at their hearing. They're doing a whole lot of talking at their hearing.

Instead, it's Sotomayor, and the watching American public, who are sentenced to do a whole lot of hearing at her hearing.

De Seno's fascinating numbers are all right here. One word, Thomas: Thanks.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Few words: Click here. Twitter alerts of each Ticket item. Free. Or follow   @latimestot

Photo credits: Wally McNamee / Getty Images; Karen Bleier / AFP/Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (11)

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she's been out-talked 2:1 because she's the "wise Latina".

What a completely pointless article, with no context whatsoever. How many senators were asking questions? I'll bet it was more than two. Is this kind of word count typical for these kinds of hearings, or was this a special case for Sotomayor?

What ever happened to journalism?

I find it hilarious that the Left believes that this Sotomayor will be an impartial judge, as she has already discredited herself. Don't let facts and statements on record get in the way, let the circus continue!

Baed upon word count, only Senators Kohl, Feinstien and Grassley seem to think hearing from Sotomayor is more important. Overall the Republican Senators are the real 'gas-bags' averaging 2,548 words compared to the Democrats with 2,209. The Repubs need a healthy dose of humility seeing they do not represent the majority of Americans. Their constant focus on racism (especially the hypocrit, Sessions) looks foolish.

After this hearing, I think that the republican party will lost few more seats in the next election because the way they treated Judge Sotomayor unfairly. She is more qualify than many other before her. Still, Because of her race, she had to go through all the stupid questions. They worried about reverse discriminate ... I wonder how they feel about the discriminate that the white folks acted upon other minority many years ago? It is just pure politic of racist. Nothing else is new about the republican party.

Doug is simply wrong in his analysis. Imagine A, B, C, D, and E are talking with Doug. A speaks, then Doug. B speaks, then Doug. C speaks, then Doug. Etc. At the end, Doug has spoken about the same as the total of A...E. If A...E have a word total TWICE that of Doug, that means EACH of them (A...E) spoke twice as much as Doug. Therefore, the number of Senators have NOTHING to do with it. Doug needs some remedial basic logic.

Relax people!

We all, before "we" appoint her, want to know if she can dance pinata, talk pinata, look pinata, mingle with the pinata, and in the end eat pinata too... Yeayhhhh!

Isn't that what politics is all about?

P.S. After she seats in her bench, I think that I'll go get me some r lechon and on my way, I'll dance, not on 1, but on 2, too! :)

Someone said that if the Senator's do most of the talking, the nominee is in GOOD SHAPE! Would they please SHUT UP, and put her on the damned bench across the street already?

How was Judge Sotomayor treated unfairly? I didn't really see it. And besides, she played the "game" brilliantly, by delivering deliberately short and cautious answers and saying little of substance. She offered explanations for most of the controversial decisions that she was involved in, even if they were overly narrow (and, a few times, inaccurate). In addition, she backed away from most of her public remarks to a ridiculous degree.

She'll be easily confirmed (and with Republican support) and she'll probalby do an ok job as a Justice. It remains to be seen how good this "ok job" will be, of course. This is the case with all Judges and Justices, not just Judge Sotomayor.

Also, Keith: Sheesh, that's some horribly bad grammar... I don't normally comment on this type of thing on the Internet, but I just could not resist.

It's called grandstanding. Sessions already said that unless Sotomayor has a meltdown, she's going to be confirmed. So why waste time with the hearings? Because the media is there! Take away the media and the senators will not be looking to impress anybody. Neither Republicans who want to assure their constituents they put up a fight (even with Sessions' comment) nor Democrats who want to show they did not stand in the way. In the end, the public can do nothing about confirming or rejecting a Supreme Court nominee, but we can sure do something about re-electing our Senators or not.

a very useful word count! maybe if the senators weren't so busy yapping and inferring out their own ideologies, we'd actually get to know the sotmayor a little more!


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A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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