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Sotomayor Hearings Update: Is She a Prop for Larger Fight?

(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
I was struck by how often Republicans attacked President Obama and his comments about how judges should have empathy. At times it seemed the nominee was merely a prop for a larger fight between the other two branches.

It's a same planet, different world atmosphere. If you listen to the Democrats the nominee is a moderate and modest judge with tons of practical experience. If you listen to the Republicans, Sotomayor is a dangerous liberal activist who would help destroy neutrality on the bench.

So far no big surprises although I thought it interesting that Senator Kyl, of Arizona, with its large Hispanic population, would be so pointedly critical of Sotomayor. I figured he would be a little less biting.

More coverage of day one of Sotomayor's hearings.

Andrew Cohen is CBS News' Chief Legal Analyst and Legal Editor. CourtWatch is his new blog with analysis and commentary on breaking legal news and events. For columns on legal issues before the beginning of this blog, click here.