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Sotomayor's confirmation hearing

July 13, 2009 2:49:13 PM PDT
Her story is remarkable, there's no question about that, and it was played up at her confirmation hearing that started today. Sonia Sotomayor made much of her humble beginnings in the Bronx, about being raised by her mother after her dad died when she was young, about her opportunities to get an Ivy League education and, now, on the precipice of becoming the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice.

It was something of a love fest for the federal judge, if you don't count those who weren't festive. Some Republicans view this nomination as a "crossroads" for the judiciary, and they came out swinging.

There were also demonstrators - anti-abortion protestors - who didn't like Sotomayor's stance on abortion rights, even though as a judge she's never ruled on an abortion case.

Four people were arrested, including Norma McCorvey, the "Jane Roe" of "Roe V. Wade" - the landmark abortion rights case from the 1970s.

We'll have the latest on today's hearings, and look ahead to what's going to happen tomorrow. N.J. Burkett is in Washington for us.

And we're following a murder mystery in the Astoria section of Queens, where a 23-year-old student at the Fashion Institute of Technology was found murdered in her family's home. She had been beaten and was partially disrobed.

Was she a random victim or was she targeted? Lucy Yang is on the story for us.

Stock swindler Bernie Madoff is now officially gone from New York. He was taken to a federal prison in North Carolina; it's unclear if he'll stay there to serve his 150 years in prison - or whether he will just be there for a medical exam. If he stays, they apparently have jobs in the food facility where he can make 40 cents an hour. Might take a while to pay back the $65 billion he swindled, but, hey, he's got 150 years ahead!

Meanwhile, on a personal note, I'm in a bit of a Twilight Zone in terms of personal reality. My wife is now nine days from her official "due date," and this twixt-and-tween period is, around my house, The Wait.

And conjuring up Mr. Serling's incredible introduction to his series: "A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination...You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Behind it is another dimension: a dimension of sound (my addition: baby crying?), a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas...It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between...science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge."

Except for the outdated gender reference, what great writing!

And so I feel a little like I'm in the Twilight Zone, knowing that the boundaries of new birth and new life await in a matter of days.

I've been in this beyond-real place a few times before - in the days leading up to the births of my daughter and son, now several years ago, and - and I say this with some hesitancy - also in the period of weeks leading up to the deaths of my mother and father.

Except for being on the opposite end of life's spectrum, and with the outcome sad instead of joyful, many of the emotions are the same: this feeling that it's in so many ways beyond your control, and the feeling that something very different is at the other end.

I'll keep you posted.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Jessica Taff (in for Scott Clark) with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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