July 15th, 2009
03:56 PM ET
5 years ago

Sotomayor stumped

 Sen. Al Franken stumped Sonia Sotomayor on a question about 'Perry Mason.'
Sen. Al Franken stumped Sonia Sotomayor on a question about 'Perry Mason.'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The White House may have quizzed Judge Sonia Sotomayor on endless laws and past court cases, but Sen. Al Franken thinks they might have missed something.

"What was the one case in Perry Mason that Burger won?" Franken asked Sotomayor at the end of his questioning session on Wednesday afternoon.

Franken and Sotomayor discovered earlier that they were both avid fans of the television show, Perry Mason, which featured a defense attorney who specialized in extremely difficult cases. Sotomayor said she couldn't remember the name of this particular episode, in which Mason loses to prosecutor Hamilton Burger, but said she was "struck" that it was the only one in which Mason's client was actually guilty.

"Didn't the White House prepare you for that?" Franken said, to laughs.

But Sotomayor had a good excuse.

"You are right, but I was spending a lot of time on reviewing cases," Sotomayor said. "I do have that stark memory, because, like you, I watched it all of the time, every week as well. I just couldn't interest my brother, the nurse, and my brother, the doctor, to do it with me."

Turns out, Franken didn't know the answer either. Sen. Patrick Leahy, the Judiciary Committee Chairman, asked the Minnesota lawmaker to tell everyone the name of the episode.

"I don't know," Franken said. "That's why I was asking. If I knew, I wouldn't have asked her."

Since Franken didn't know the answer either, Leahy said Sotomayor was off the hook.

"Because of that, judge, we will not hold your inability to answer the question against you," Leahy said.

Mason lost to Burger just a handful of times on the show, which originally ran from 1957-66.


Filed under: Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Michigan Jim

    Bread, circuses, and now clowns. I can't wait until November 2010.

    July 15, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  2. robert

    just think this judge will be there for life. My country is in trouble what can we do ? how old is she? may be she is seventy or older.

    July 15, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  3. Enlightened Voter

    Thin is in? – so the illegal war in Iraq that was started on a lie was okay with you and the over 100,000 Iraqi innocent civilian lives lost and over 5,000 soldiers who died was okay with you, the over 5 million jobs lost during 2007 & 2008 was okay with you, the deregulation of the banks in early 2000's before the dems took control was okay with you? Seriously, you guys seriously need to stop listening to faux news and lush limpaugh. Oh, I forgot how bush hid the budget for the wars also and the torture....should I go on?????

    July 15, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  4. GOP = Party of Tolerance

    Wow Leahy called Franken's bluff on that one. Better ask real questions instead of wasting time on gotcha questions about television episodes. The economy is still tanking so Senators should do their job instead of clown around at taxpayer expense.

    July 15, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  5. Roger from CA

    Chill out, wingnuts....

    July 15, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  6. Kelby In Houston, TX

    Franken...you clown. Please get settled and established as an intellect before you crack any jokes. Everybody knows how funny you are in this town, but few know of your intellegence or that you are more than capapble of doing this job. Crack jokes next year.

    July 15, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  7. FORMER republican, NEVER again!

    Thin is in? – I'm sure you miss those 8 glorious years under bush and the rethuglicans huh? BTW the dems received their majority only in 2006, this country was on a serious downhill way before then. YOu repubs do try and spin the truth dontcha? You betcha! Fortunately we are not all so blind to the FACTS. And as a white male, I totally agree with Sontamayer's statements, they are correct.

    July 15, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  8. AJ

    Frankin should keep his mouth shut if he has nothing to contriibute but nonsensical innanities. Its time for Frankin to learn from his betters. I'm a lifelong Democrat and support Frankins efforts but this is serious business, not a sketch on SNL.

    July 15, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  9. mjm

    Hey Franken, let the grown ups talk.

    July 15, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  10. Independent in Virginia

    Again with comparing this and that to Bush and Cheney from all of you. It doesn't matter if it's an old piece of poo and a new piece of poo – they both still stink.

    July 15, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. Wake Up

    democrats are making this a mockery!!! this is a supreme court justice and they are concerned with nancy drew novels and perry mason. Ladies and Gentelman....your 2009 Senate! Run by idiots, crooks and socialists!

    July 15, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  12. Diane

    Ha ha. I think it's funny. Nothing wrong with a little levity. Why is it that the right wing posters always have a ton of spelling mistakes?

    July 15, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  13. Bob in Pa

    I knew there was a reason this guy was considered qualified to sit on this committee. I mean what more possible experience in life could you get to prepare you other than watching Perry Mason ?

    July 15, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  14. Richard

    Funny...NOT! These are the same idiots that just drafted a Health Insurance Bill that will mandate regular Americans health care... but the Congress EXCLUDED THEMSELVES from having to participate in the same health insurance!!! They keep their choice. They are not participating the same plan!!!! Interesting how that works.... are you left wing loonies waking up from the kool-aid yet??!!

    July 15, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  15. independent

    Get a life. She's a lock.

    July 15, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  16. Independent in Virginia

    Ren from Baltimore July 15th, 2009 4:54 pm ET

    Franken also asked the insightful question concerning whether the presence of particular words in the U.S. Constitution meant all that much. This was in response to the Republicans asking Sotomayor, "is the word 'abortion' in the Constitution?" Franken asked if the word "privacy" was there…in a clean and well-thought out point making mince-meat of the small-brained Republican attacks so far.
    --------------

    I'm pro-choice, but the word "Life" is in the Constitution: "nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process"

    To pro-life folks, "Life" is their argument for banning abortions. To pro-choice folks, "privacy" (not in Constitution) is the argument for allowing abortions. So if Franken was trying to use an example of something not in the Constitution to discredit those against abortion, he didn't do it...

    July 15, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  17. mypitts2

    Why can't some people here just let an interesting aside be an interesting aside, and leave it at that? The lady got grilled for two straight days. It's a lighter moment. It was nice and reminded people of a show that many folks grew up loving.

    She's going to get confirmed, so what different does it make about the rest of the dog-and-pony show anyway?

    July 15, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  18. Randolph Carter

    Diane wrote:
    Ha ha. I think it's funny. Nothing wrong with a little levity. Why is it that the right wing posters always have a ton of spelling mistakes?

    Because their all home skooled so that they don't have to learn about that there evulution and science and stuff. Have a nise day!

    July 15, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
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