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Why have hearings at all?

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This week, Judge Sonia Sotomayor is going through her confirmation hearings on Captiol Hill.

Why?

Why have hearings when all sides agree that she will, in the end, be confirmed?

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Democrats are in the bag for Sotomayor -- after meeting face-to-face with many of them, she's already won their votes.

And Republicans, who may have some reservations about her and some comments she's made, have indicated they're not going to fight very hard against her, and may even be pleasantly surprised that she's about as conservative a nominee as is likely to be put forth by the Obama administration.

The Democrats are on board. The Republicans at least aren't planning to stand in the way. Why not just proceed to the vote and move on to other business?

Instead, we get hours upon hours, days upon days of "questioning," which is usually something more like "statementing" or "grandstanding." Remember current VP Joe Biden's famous 12-minute "question"?

Sotomayor knows she has it in the bag, and she's nimbly sidestepping every question that's thrown her way. So we have members of Congress pretending to ask questions, the nominee pretending to answer them, and the outcome is preordained. What a waste of time.

And this comes as the Congress explained that it didn't have enough time to meet the Obama Administration's deadline on health care reform. This is an issue that needs urgent attention, and there is definite disagreement between the two parties about how best to fix the broken health care system. But they don't have time for such things. They have a show to put on.

Please. Vote to confirm Sotomayor, which we all know is going to happen, and actually roll up those sleeves and tackle an issue that really matters, where some honest and open debate might make a difference in crafting a plan that helps the American public.

The dog and pony show is not appreciated.

Move on.

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