Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Advice for a Supreme Court Nominee From a Former Chief of Staff

Ken Duberstein, President Ronald Reagan's last chief of staff and a supporter of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential bid, gives U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Sonya Sotomayor, some unsolicited advice on navigating the dangerous waters of the confirmation process.

  • Personal stories are compelling every time.

  • Begin your senatorial courtesy calls almost immediately.

  • Practice, practice, practice.

  • Be prepared for the kitchen sink at the hearings.

  • The Constitution stops at the foot of Capitol Hill.

  • Tell the truth, always.

  • Senators welcome mea culpas in your oral testimony.

  • Pause for seven seconds before you answer any question.

  • Have an answer for the one question you didn't want to be asked -- because you will undoubtedly be asked that question.

  • Senators usually depart when the cameras are turned off, but remember: The microphone will still be on.

  • Bonus: "You have the best lobbyist in the world at your disposal... the president of the United States, and a popular one at that. Use the president's influence judiciously -- but use it."

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