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Sotomayor hearings: Talking business is a bonus and a bore

July 15, 2009 | 10:19 am

TeddySen. Ted Kaufman, the rookie Democratic senator from Delaware, has been quizzing Sonia Sotomayor for the last half-hour on business issues, including securities fraud and antitrust law.

It likely made eyes glaze over all across America (and in the hearing room), but from the Democrats' point of view, the testimony was valuable. For 30 minutes, Sotomayor was able to talk about very familiar matters.

Her appeals court hears cases originating out of the financial sector in New York. So the exchange allowed her to sound knowledgeable, practiced and confident in an arena -- business -- that viewers wouldn't automatically connect with a Democratic appointee.

And that certainly plays against the GOP's narrative that Sotomayor is an over-emotional, radical judge.

But man, it didn't make for great theater. And it left at least one reporter longing for the man whom Kaufman replaced -- a certain Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. A veteran of the judge wars, Biden would have relished the opportunity to bolster Sotomayor and go head to head with the GOP. Of course, his presence also would have substantially lengthened this already long hearing.

-- James Oliphant

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Photo: Sen. Ted Kaufman was all business at Wednesday's hearing. Credit: Ron Edmonds / Associated Press