Right about now (1 p.m. Central Time) Minnesota's newly hatched senator, Al Franken, is having a photo op and meeting with Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. The meeting isn't just a courtesy call--Franken is a newly appointed member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and starting Monday he will be one of 19 senators quizzing Judge Sotomayor in her confirmation hearings for the U.S. Supreme Court. And Sotomayor won't be the only one being judged. Franken has barely had time to warm his Senate seat before being thrust into the high-profile national spotlight of a Supreme Court nomination. Franken will have more than the usual boning up to do: He is one of only six non-lawyers on the Judiciary Committee. Hopefully, he can sit next to Minnesota's other senator, Amy Klobuchar, who can kick him under the table when he's out of order.
Sen. Franken has finished his meeting with Judge Sotomayor and released this statement:
"Choosing a Supreme Court Justice is one of the most important decisions a United States Senator will make and I'm thrilled to be a member of the Senate in time to participate in the confirmation process. Judge Sotomayor will be the most experienced appointee in 75 years, and has a great life story. I'm glad to have had the chance to meet with her this afternoon, and I look forward to carefully considering her next week during the hearing.
"The current Supreme Court has been sliding back on the rights of Americans as employees, as parents, as consumers, and as investors, and it is critical that the next appointee understand the importance of these protections."