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Jon Kyl’s On Message, If the Message is Hypocrisy

As the ideologically charged debate revs up over the qualifications of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Barack Obama’s newly announced pick to replace David Souter on the Supreme Court, Senate Republicans have thus far approached cautiously, vowing a fair examination of her record and asking Democrats for substantial time to conduct it.

But as Greg Sargent points out today, the GOP hypocrisy machine is already in full spin. Here, for example, is Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) today patting Republicans on the back for affording the then-minority Democrats months to scrutinize John Roberts and Samuel Alito, both controversial Supreme Court picks of President George W. Bush.

“I would expect that Senate Democrats will afford the minority the same courtesy as we move forward with this process,” Kyl said in a statement Tuesday.

Yet, Sargent digs a bit to discover that Kyl, during the 2006 debate on Alito’s confirmation, criticized the Democrats for wanting more time to examine the candidate — the same time that Kyl requested today.

One might wonder why we would need more than just a couple of days of debate (the average of recent nominees is two to three days), especially since nothing new has been said for weeks. But, if the public has noticed anything during this process it is that senators value their right of unlimited debate.

And that’s not all. Sargent also found that Alito’s examination window was in part extended — not because the Democrats were stalling or the Republicans were granting some form of courtesy — but because Kyl, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was busy in Arizona fending off a tough reelection challenger.

And this is all happening just a few hours of the announcement.

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