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Have You No Sense of Decency? Let Elena Kagan Use the Bathroom!

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is in Day 3 of her confirmation hearings, and has reportedly held up well thus far. The Christian Science Monitor reports that in particular, Kagan's sense of humor has been on full display during her Supreme Court confirmation hearings this week. (For example: Sen. Graham -- "I just asked you where you were on Christmas?"; Kagan, laughing out loud -- "You know, like all Jews, I was probably in a Chinese restaurant.")

But one, perhaps even more important, attribute that Kagan will need to survive her hearings has received very little attention: the ability to sit for hours without ever taking a bathroom break.

Bob Fuss of CBS News reports that Congress has a "bizarre practice of making witnesses testify for hours without a bathroom break." Many hearings, Fuss writes, "can be confrontational and there are always power issues and witnesses don't like to show weakness by asking to take a bathroom break and they are almost never offered."

Petraeus Indeed, on June 15, 2010, General David Petraeus was testifying before Congress when he "turned pale, seemed to lose his train of thought and then crumpled onto the table." After seeing a doctor and after a few cups of water and some bananas, Petraeus returned and explained that he had become dehydrated. Fuss suggests that "Petraeus made the logical if unhealthy choice to not eat or drink before the hearing" because he knew he would have no opportunity for a bathroom break.

Fuss argues that

It is time for this madness to stop.

When the commander of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, a model of middle age fitness, faints on national television, things have gone too far.

Grill the witnesses if you like. Make them sweat. But give them a glass of water and at least every few hours let them go the bathroom.

There's been no word from Ms. Kagan on this issue, but I believe she would join me (and all future witnesses) in saying, "Amen!"

Posted by Bruce Carton on June 30, 2010 at 02:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

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