With the new availability of the CNN, MSNBC and Fox News July 2009 to present historical backfile in the TV Visual Explorer, it is now possible to go back to look at the visual narratives used to frame the biggest societal debates of the past decade. Here is one exchange from the historical vault from July 16, 2009 on Justice Sotomayor's confirmation hearings:
joining us right now the top republican on the judiciary committee senator jeff sessions of alabama. senator, have you made up your mind? >> well, i haven't. but i want to agree with bill bennett on one thing and i will mention that in a minute and that is we had a more honest discussion of some of the complexities and sensitivities of the race question in this hearing than in the 12 years i have been in the senate. so, i was proud that the attorney general's challenge that we be more honest about these issues were somewhat met in this hearing. >> is it still possible, senator sessions, you might vote to confirm her? >> i will try to do the right thing. i got to tell you, i'm very worried throughout a long period of 15 years of speeches and judicial philosophy she expressed that's contrary to mine and very, very troubling in approach and some of her cases reflect that. i do think she's on the — i'm worried about what with it would be like for a lifetime appointment for her. >> how much deference do you give an elected president of the united states? in other words, elections as john mccain and lindsey graham keep saying, elections do have consequences. >> i don't think there's any. i think it's a good question, wolf, first. i think you give some deference because a president will submit someone else with a similar philosophy if they're elected and lack their commitment and then you have to ask yourself, do you think that the nominee once loose on the american public and on that court for a lifetime, maybe 30 years, do they have the discipline, the character, the restraint that will be worthy of that office? because if they don't have it, if it's not their philosophy to have it, what we've seen is that judges do tend to follow the siren song to set a little policy when they get a chance.