I am not going to post much about Sotomayor's Senate confirmation process as everyone is following a script. The Republicans are trying to show that she is a racist and irrational (the latter because, well, she is a woman after all), and the Democrats are trying to have it both ways--that her ethnicity should not affect her judgment but demonstrates the party's multi-ethnicity. The media is trying to find something to play, and the public is probably tuning this all out because: a) its summer and there are many other activities that are more appealing; b) the outcome is pretty obvious; and c) the new Harry Potter movie is now out.
The funny thing is that we really will not know at the end of the day what kind of Supreme Sotomayor will be. The hearings do not really get at that due to the nature of the beast--the Senators' need to grand-stand and the candidate's need to be as shapeless as possible. This is like a first date where both sides have incentives to present versions of themselves that may be partly based on fact, but probably not how the marriage would ultimately look. But, of course, in marriage, there are outs, whereas this appointment is for life. And I think we know that the absence of accountability not only frees up a Justice from the constraints of public opinion, but also from the person who did the appointing and the body that did the consenting.
So, the hearings do not really matter at all, except to help the Republicans alienate Latinos, women, and various folks who might otherwise be swing voters. When Senator Sessions is to your go-to guy, well, your party may just be conceding the next election or two.
I do think that America has been doing an better job than expected of dealing with the changing demography--that whites are losing their majority status--but these hearings along with other recent events show that the way ahead will probably be as bumpy as the roads in Quebec.