WASHINGTON (CNN) - White House aides went to Capitol Hill Thursday to begin coordinating with Senate Democrats on strategy for Judge Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation to the Supreme Court.
White House Counsel Greg Craig and White House aide Cynthia Hogan held an "initial check-in meeting" with the chief counsels for Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee, according to a Senate Democratic aide involved in the confirmation process. The hour-long closed meeting "to go over the anticipated timetable," and other matters, was held in the committee's hearing room in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, the aide said.
Sotomayor will go to Capitol Hill as early as next Tuesday to meet with senators who will vote on her confirmation.
(CNN) - For all her experience and accomplishments, the Senate confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor could hinge on one sentence she uttered more than seven years ago.
The sentence constitutes 32 words of the almost 4,000 she delivered during a speech at the University of California, Berkeley. Read by itself, it seems to imply that Latina women make better judges than white men.
"I would hope that a wise Latina woman, with the richness of her experiences, would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life," she said October 26, 2001.
(CNN) - Just when you thought Levi Johnston's 15 minutes of fame may have come to an end, the famous teen dad is back as the subject of a cover story and photo-spread in next month's GQ magazine.
Among the profile's revelations: Todd Palin, the husband of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and father of Johnston's former girlfriend, Bristol, repeatedly offered to buy his daughter a car if she dumped Johnston.
GQ also asks Johnston if he and Bristol Palin, who still stay in touch, ever "loved each other."
"I think we were in love. I wasn't one to stick with a girl for three years if I wasn't. I'm pretty sure you can call it love, but it's just amazing how fast it can change like that. We were together every day. The feeling we got when we were with each other, it was just totally gone," Johnston told the magazine.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It is part political reality - and, seemingly, part Republican strategy.
The longest-serving Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee tells CNN Radio that as things stand now, Sonia Sotomayor is headed for a Supreme Court confirmation.
"If there are no otherwise disqualifying matters here, it appears to me she will probably be confirmed," Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said Thursday.
Hatch is acknowledging the Senate landscape. Democrats could have 60 votes in the chamber if Minnesota's Al Franken is seated, and they now hold a 12 to 7 majority on the Judiciary Committee.
But as he speaks to Sotomayor's strength, Hatch is also digging the first Republican battle line on her nomination: the schedule.
"If the Democrats don't overplay their hand and don't try to rush this too much, the process will go well, they'll be better off, she'll get confirmed," he said, again adding that is if no new concerns come to light.
(A report on the Republican battle line over Sotomayor after the jump)
Even before President Obama chose Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court, he let it be known that he was looking for a justice with, among other things, something called 'empathy.'
By that, he said, he meant someone who understands "ordinary Americans so that everybody is heard." And that quality, we can infer, comes largely from life experience and background. Ipso facto, Sotomayor's up-by-the-bootstraps life story could well make her a more empathetic justice.
It's a notion that clearly horrifies conservatives. "It opens a grand debate of the president's own making," Manuel Miranda, chairman of the Third Branch Conference, told me. For conservative purists, empathy is all about feelings, which have no place in the law. It's also about experiences-even ethnicity-which should also have no place in the law.
As a defiant Justice Antonin Scalia said in 2007, "…just as there is no 'Catholic' way to cook a hamburger, I am hard-pressed to tell you of a single opinion of mine that would have come out differently if I were not Catholic." And I'm sure he's telling the truth.
But there's more to it than that. If empathy means you "understand what other people are thinking," says one senior White House advisor, "…you would think you would want a judge with empathy." That's also true.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Republicans have launched a coordinated public relations blitz against 17 congressional Democrats that seeks to tie them to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her accusations that the CIA misled Congress about the interrogation of terror suspects.
Specifically, the multi-faceted campaign targets these Democrats with television or radio ads, or a pre-recorded telephone message to constituents' homes, that criticizes the members of Congress for voting against initiating an investigation into when Pelosi learned about the use of waterboarding.
It is the first time the National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign arm of the congressional GOP, has bought a TV ad using Pelosi's comments about the CIA. Late last week, the Republican National Committee posted a Web video comparing the House speaker to the James Bond character Pussy Galore. The RNC video has since been removed from its Web site and You Tube.
(Updated after the jump with Democratic response)
(CNN) - Former President George W. Bush will take questions from an American audience for the first time since leaving the White House on January 20.
The former president travels to Benton Harbor, Michigan to address the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan.
A spokesman for the former president says Bush will discuss his eight years in the White House, his transition to private life, and his outlook on both the economy and world events. The former president is also expected to answer questions from the audience.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The United States will host the next Group of 20 economic summit, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced Thursday.
The summit will be held from September 24-26 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
(CNN) - A new poll of Pennsylvania voters suggests that Sen. Arlen Specter's lead over his most likely Republican challenger in next year's re-election battle is shrinking.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday indicates that Specter tops former Rep. Pat Toomey by nine points, 46 percent to 37 percent. That's down from a 20 point lead that Specter held over Toomey in Quinnipiac's previous poll, which was released at the beginning of May, around the time that Specter switched from a Republican to a Democrat.
The poll suggests that Specter would top Rep. Joe Sestak 50 percent to 21 percent in a probable Democratic primary matchup. On Wednesday, Sestak announced that he would challenge Specter as long as his family goes along with the decision. The poll was conducted before Sestak's decision was announced.
(CNN) – The National Organization for Marriage is out with new television and radio ads in New York as the state's senate is considering legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage.
"Legalizing gay marriage has consequences for kids," TV ad says. "Massachusetts schools teach second graders that boys can marry other boys. A California public school took first graders to a same-sex wedding . . . "
"The rights of people who believe marriage means a man and a woman will no longer matter. We'll all have to accept gay marriage whether we like it to or not," both ads also say.
The ads are being supported by a $100,000 ad buy in Long Island and the Albany-Schenectady area, according the National Organization for Marriage. The initial ad buy runs from May 28 through May 31, the group also said.
The New York State Assembly recently passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the state. New York Gov. David Paterson has said he will sign the bill if the state Senate also passes it.
The new ads end with a request for viewers and listeners to call their state senators and express their opposition to same-sex marriage.