MAYBE SESSIONS SHOULD HAVE CHECKED WITH CEDARBAUM FIRST…. This week is Sen. Jeff Sessions’ (R-Ala.) first chance to appear in the national spotlight in quite a long while. It doesn’t seem to be going well.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), seeking to discredit Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy, cited her 2001 “wise Latina” speech, and contrasted the view that ethnicity and sex influence judging with that of Judge Miriam Cedarbaum, who “believes that judges must transcend their personal sympathies and prejudices.”

“So I would just say to you, I believe in Judge Cedarbaum’s formulation,” Sessions told Sotomayor.

“My friend Judge Cedarbaum is here,” Sotomayor riposted, to Sessions’s apparent surprise. “We are good friends, and I believe that we both approach judging in the same way, which is looking at the facts of each individual case and applying the law to those facts.”

In fact, while Sessions held up Cedarbaum, a Reagan nominee, as having the superior approach to jurisprudence, Cedarbaum immediately backed Sotomayor. “I don’t believe for a minute that there are any differences in our approach to judging, and her personal predilections have no affect on her approach to judging,” she told the Wall Street Journal this morning.

Ian Millhiser extended some helpful advice to the conservative Alabama senator: “Note to Sessions: before you put words in a federal judge’s mouth, make sure that she isn’t in the hearing room to hear your false claim.”

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.