GEORGE BRETT (presiding): Good morning. Welcome, Judge Sotomayor, and congratulations on your nomination.
SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Thank you very much. I’m delighted to be here.
GEORGE BRETT: Let’s get started, shall we? I will ask the first question. Much has been made since you were nominated about a speech you gave at Duke University, in which you suggested that the courts “create the law.” Some have charged that you will therefore be a so-called “judicial activist.” In light of this speech, I wonder if you could comment on the propriety of the infield fly rule.
SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Yes, of course. Wait a minute. What?
LARRY GURA: And in relation to that, please tell us whether you think it’s right that a runner can tag up on a foul ball.
SONIA SOTOMAYOR (consulting notes, flipping through them fruitlessly): Yes, right, umm, infield fly rule. Tagging up. OK. Just one moment . . .
FREDDIE PATEK: I think what George and Larry are asking is whether you think it’s OK for a grown man to cry. By himself. In a dugout.
JOHN MAYBERRY (under his breath): Pussy.
SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Ahh, well, the Equal Protection Clause does give equal rights to men and women . . .
GEORGE BRETT: Perhaps we should change the subject a little. In his confirmation hearing a few years back, now Chief Justice Roberts analogized the role of the judge to the role of the umpire. Do you agree with that characterization? And specifically, do you think that it would be unconstitutional to waterboard Tim McClelland?
SONIA SOTOMAYOR: I’m sorry. Tim McClelland?
GEORGE BRETT: I’ll phrase it another way. Let’s say, for example, that a hypothetical rule prohibited the use of pine tar on any bat higher than eighteen inches above the tip of the handle. Would you strictly construe that provision as it applies to someone who has just hit a game winning home run?
WILLIE WILSON: And, also, would you legalize cocaine?
HAL McRAE (muttering to himself): Stupid questions.
WILLIE WILSON: Please.
GEORGE BRETT (suddenly standing and wailing in pain): Ow, my ass!
SONIA SOTOMAYOR: If we could perhaps bring the discussion back to my constitutional theory?
GEORGE BRETT (grabbing his ass): Holy Chris Chambliss!
HAL McRAE (still muttering): Dumbassed questions.
SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Perhaps I should mention that I once saved baseball?
U.L. WASHINGTON (chewing toothpick): Yes, please tell us a bit about that, Judge Sotomayor.
SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Why, I’d be happy to talk about that case. And by the way, Mr. Washington, I’ve always wondered: what does the “U.L.” stand for in your name?
U.L. Washington stares silently at Sonia Sotomayor for, like, three whole minutes.]
SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Well, OK then.
GEORGE BRETT (jumping up and down_): Sweet mother of Goose Gossage! (_He leaves the room screeching.)
SONIA SOTOMAYOR: The case involved the 1995 player’s strike against the owners. I ruled that the owners had violated the basic principles of collective bargaining and ordered the season to resume. The Chicago Sun-Times said that I had “delivered a wicked fastball” to the owners, ha ha ha, whatever that means.
COOKIE ROJAS: So, then, are you a baseball fan, Judge Sotomayor?
Hal McRae starts totally freaking out.]
HAL McRAE (yelling like a madman_): STOP ASKING ALL THESE STUPID-ASSED QUESTIONS!! (_He starts throwing phones and shoes and large containers of Gatorade all over the courtroom). SAME STUPID-ASSED SHIT EVERY SUPREME COURT NOMINATION HEARING. PUT THAT IN YOUR FUCKING PIPE AND SMOKE IT.
SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Hmm. That was odd.
COOKIE ROJAS: Don’t mind him. He does that every hearing. You should have seen what he said to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Please continue.
SONIA SOTOMAYOR: I believe the question was whether I am a baseball fan. And yes, I would have to answer that in the affirmative.
FRANK WHITE: Terrific. That is a big point in your favor (makes checkmark on legal pad). Now, where did you say you grew up again?
SONIA SOTOMAYOR: In the Bronx. Bronx, New York.
The entire bench erupts in angry disappointment.]
AMOS OTIS: Oh, no.
WILLIE WILSON: Forget this.
PAUL SPLITORFF: This can’t be happening.
The players get up to leave. On the way out, Hal McRae throws some more stuff toward Sonia Sotomayor. Afterwards, only Freddy Patek remains at the bench, quietly weeping.]
GEORGE BRETT (squeaking from the judge’s quarters): Somebody help me.