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Pundits & Editorials

Columnists offer a guide to what to look for in Sonia Sotomayor's hearings this week. Plus: Liz Cheney says Obama sides with an un-American version of history.

E.J. Dionne Jr. calls Sonia Sotomayor's hearings a "critical moment" because they "represent the opening skirmish in a long-term struggle to challenge the escalating activism of an increasingly conservative judiciary."

Eva Rodriguez will be watching Republicans for answers to "whether Sotomayor sided with (or perhaps empathized with?) black firefighters because of political correctness and despite the dictates of the law ... or because existing federal civil rights law forced her to the conclusion."


• When asked about cameras in the court, USA Today hopes Sotomayor will "break useful new ground" and become "a passionate advocate for opening oral arguments at the Supreme Court to TV viewers."

• There is a chance the hearings "will be, like 'Seinfeld,' a show about nothing," warns law professor Randy E. Barnett in the Wall Street Journal.

• "There are two different versions of the story of the end of the Cold War: the Russian version, and the truth," Liz Cheney writes for the Wall Street Journal. "President Barack Obama endorsed the Russian version in Moscow last week."


Paul Krugman suggests that the analogy of a boiled frog playing in the pot before its surprising death applies to the country because, "right now, both the economic and the environmental frogs are sitting still while the water gets hotter."

• The Wall Street Journal proclaims itself the defender of "the poorest, least skilled Americans" as it calls on Congress to suspend the minimum wage increase "for one or two years until the job market recovers."

• The Washington Post contends that if health care is the "ticking time bomb for the federal budget" that President Obama says it is, then Congress' reform plans will fail to fix the problem.

Stuart Rothenberg finds some parts of the GOP that want to make health care reform more about reducing costs than providing universal coverage.


Jeb Bush, Thomas F. McLarty III and Edward Alden detail their plan to fix the "persistent problem of illegal immigration" that has "soured many Americans on the benefits of an open system" in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times.

• Sen. John Ensign declared he was innocent of alleged ethical improprieties surrounding his affair, but the Washington Post editorial board says "we'd be more reassured to hear a similar judgment from the Senate Ethics Committee, the Federal Election Commission or the Justice Department."

• The pope's latest writing, released last week, "represents a kind of left-right fusionism with little traction in American politics" -- that's why Ross Douthat argues it's worth a read.

• The New York Times notes the thousands of port workers being denied jobs because of faulty background checks and urges Congress to "fix this problem by speeding up the approval process and requiring the F.B.I. to verify the accuracy of criminal records before issuing background reports."

Eliza Newlin Carney believes "it's all well and good for reform advocates on Capitol Hill to pick a fight with the White House over who sits on the Federal Election Commission," but blocking confirmation of FEC nominee John Sullivan "glosses over a more fundamental problem. The real reason the FEC can't function is that its structure and appointments process are long overdue for an overhaul."

• If the Commodity Futures Trading Commission moves ahead with plans for "more disclosure, intended to ferret out what politicians like to call 'excessive speculation,'" then L. Gordon Crovitz says the transparency "could instead show that oil speculators are heroes, not villains."

• The New York Times accuses state legislatures of "unknowingly legalized loan sharking when they exempted short-term, 'payday' lenders from usury laws that generally capped interest rates at about 36 percent."

Jon Meacham disputes the Iranian government's portrayal of imprisoned Newsweek reporter Maziar Bahari "as a kind of subversive or even as a spy. He is neither. He is a journalist; a man who was doing his job, and doing it fairly and judiciously, when he was arrested."

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