Al Franken, Sonia Sotomayor discuss courtroom dramas, celebrity judges

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Saying his mind is “made up” and he plans to vote for her confirmation, freshman U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) spent three hours Friday afternoon talking to U.S. Supreme Court justice nominee Sonia Sotomayor about celebrity judges during confirmation hearings.

Senate Republicans complained Franken had been wasting time by asking Sotomayor meaningless questions about television court room dramas when they could instead be asking her questions about her qualifications, the majority opinions she’s written that were later overturned by the Supreme Court, her “wise Latina” comments that have been declared “racist”, her inclinations to make rulings that favor women and minorities.

Franken and Sotomayor spent time talking about Perry Mason, Matlock, The Practice, Law and Order: Trial by Jury, JAG and even movie courtroom dramas like Inherit the Wind, Gideon’s Trumpet and A Few Good Men. They even spoke of the comedy Trial and Error.

The two also chatted about which celebrity judges and shows they liked: Judge Judy, Judge Joe Brown, The People’s Court, Divorce Court.

Sotomayor also said she’s a fan of the film career of actor “Judge” Reinhold.

Franken’s questions to Sotomayor centered around how Mason won almost all his cases, how Matlock used almost the same technique (getting the real murderer on the witness stand and talking them through their crime) in every episode and how disappointing it was that Law and Order’s jury spinoff didn’t last.

Franken brushed off criticism.

“Look, the Minnesota people knew when they voted for me what kind of guy I was,” said Franken. “By trade, I’m a comedian, so I wanted to make light of these hearings. Besides, we know Sotomayor will get confirmed.”

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Sotomayor said she enjoyed her conversation with Franken and that it gave her a much-needed relief over the five minutes she spent answering tough questions about her record, alleged racial comments and decisions being overturned.

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