Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor has endured weeks of insults, obnoxious questions and unwelcome drilling into her work as a judge and a lawyer — and it was all on purpose, essentially a dress rehearsal for her confirmation hearings.
In a series of faux hearings, Sotomayor has been barraged by hostile questions thrown her way by allies preparing the federal appeals judge for the interrogation that will begin Monday. She's been reviewing her past writings, speeches, cases and legal opinions while gaming questions she is likely to hear next week when the Senate Judiciary Committee takes up her nomination.
And Sotomayor also has been learning the quirks of senators who will do the questioning, and developing a thick skin for the barbs that might come her way.
The point is to ensure that no question comes up that Sotomayor hasn't heard and hasn't answered in the mock exercises.
"Judges are not accustomed to being judged," said Ed Gillespie, a White House counsel for President George W. Bush who helped prepare John Roberts and Samuel Alito for their confirmation hearings. "Helping them to understand the nature of the confirmation process and the nature of the Senate is important."
Sotomayor has faced Senate questioning before — when she was nominated by President George H.W. Bush for a federal trial judgeship in 1992, and again in 1997 when President Bill Clinton nominated her for a seat on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.