Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

White House: Sotomayor's Latina Comment Was Poor Choice of Words

Updated 6:48 p.m.
By Garance Franke-Ruta
President Obama sought today to defuse some of the tension surrounding Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's much-discussed 2001 remark that a Latina judge might arrive at a better decision than a white male one, saying in an interview, "I'm sure she would have restated it."

"But if you look in the entire sweep of the [speech] that she wrote," Obama went on to say in the interview with NBC News, "what's clear is that she was simply saying that her life experiences will give her information about the struggles and hardships that people are going through that will make her a good judge."

NBC News posted an excerpt from the interview online this afternoon, shortly after Obama's press secretary, Robert Gibbs, said of Sotomayor in the daily press briefing, "I think she'd say that her word choice in 2001 was poor."

Neither Obama nor Gibbs said how they knew that she would say this, and Gibbs acknowledged, "I have not talked specifically with her about this."

Rather, he said, he had had "discussions with people" that led him to believe that "if she had the speech to do all over again, I think she'd change that word."

Sotomayor's remarks, part of a longer speech meditating on the law and Latina identity, have touched off a firestorm among conservative commentators that Republican officials are now trying to rein in.

Already, former House speaker Newt Gingrich and radio personality Rush Limbaugh have called her a "racist" over the remark, an attack Limbaugh ratcheted up today by comparing her to former Klu Klux Klansman David Duke.

By Web Politics Editor  |  May 29, 2009; 5:45 PM ET
Categories:  Supreme Court  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: President Obama, Burger Guy
Next: Obama Expands Lobbying Ban

Comments

Why should a hateful racist lesbian be sitting on the highest court in the land ??? Posted by: jellyhouse56
--------------

Racism is fine with minoritys, as long as the racist is Democratic, and directs there racism at a. "Typical White Person"
"YES WE CAN" Posted by: dashriprock
--------------

t was racist and sexist. no pass here.
when robert kkk byrd used the word N - I - G - G - E - R twice the dems gave him a pass.time is up - no more passes - no more sexist racists - dump her!
Posted by: infantry11b4fau
---------------
newt, limpballs can't come up with their own. they need Obama for headlines..
-----------------

I might also think Limbaugh, Gingrich, Tancredo and the others are mining it because she is really qualified and they can't dig up anything else.
Posted by: tinyjab40
----------------

Obama playbook: Criticise a black or hispanic person and you're a racist.
Posted by: Atenora | May 29, 2009
-------------------
obummer couldn't find a black smart enough for SCOTUS?
Posted by: charlietuna666
--------------------It fits a pattern of racist discrimination and legal ignorance. Any wonder that Obama made sure the NAACP was at the announcement to cheer him and his cause? Posted by: mgd1 | May 29, 2009

Posted by: opp88 | May 31, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

many are not comments ,but personial views Lets wait and see what her 17 years were!!!I for one am tired of the b--- Is it just politics [PARTY] first, supreme court last.

Posted by: theoldmansays | May 31, 2009 1:43 AM | Report abuse

Again:

There is something implicitly WRONG with the entire concept of:

Whites are Expected to be Impartial;

While Minorities are Expected to be PREFERENTIAL!

THAT, is just sooooooooo WRONG!

Posted by: SAINT---The | May 30, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Chasmosaur1 said at May 29, 2009 9:34 PM:

So let's see - they're in an uproar because she thinks that a Latina judge might make a better jurist than a white man. That's the statement they want to use to bar her.

But Clarence Thomas asking who put a pubic hair on his Coke can was cool.
(see http://gos.sbc.edu/h/hill.html )

***********************


cschotta1 said at May 29, 2009 9:43 PM

Is that the best you got lib?

***********************

One - not "a lib", neither am I a neocon. For that matter, not a huge Obama booster either, and I wish McCain hadn't veered into Neocon territory - I would definitely have voted for him had he remained the candidate he was in 2000. I'm centrist and willing to listen to anyone who doesn't spout dogma.

Two - is that the best response *you* can come up with?

I was just pointing out that as far as a "poor choice of words" goes, I think Clarence Thomas kind of has Sonia Sotomayor beat by several miles, even considering the disparity in the venues of these comments.

For a machine that used to have a finely honed attack process, this is simply not the wisest attack mode for the far-right to take here.

If there are serious issues that should keep her from the Supreme Court, I'm ready to hear them. But if they are going to whine about her attitude - especially considering Justice Breyer's somewhat callous attitude during the recent Savana Redding case and Justice Scalia's notoriously prickly personality - it's just making them look puerile and sexist...and grasping.

I'm not saying Ms. Sotomayor is the ideal candidate for the Supreme Court, just commenting on the drop-kick whining the right engaged in almost immediately.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | May 30, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

We all know the Democrats would never pick out something a candidate said years ago and try to make something scandalous out of it. I mean, that goes without saying. Doesn't it?

TO 8331vienna - hope that's Austria - Virginia's too close

Posted by: rraustin1 | May 30, 2009 12:54 AM | Report abuse

doesn't anybody know that the world has been taken for a ride with the whole bush-cheney-obama-biden bandwagon? the real culprits in this debate are bush and cheney and their one ally in the u.s. senate who has supported them through thick and thin-even though he publically and privately opposed the bush administration. this one guy-a democrat-has done more to help the illegal warmongering bush administration through his contacts and kept bush's policies and encouraged the administration to fight the democrats' plans to change this nation and our relat ions with the world. the democrats don't need to go further than to see one of their own-one hwo pretends to back their goals and than turns around and slaps them in the face for everything they stand for. that one person-one they know too well-is the one white centenian demcra tic senator from the state of west virginia who worked with every administration since he was senator. but he got more personal and more active when bush came to office-and power. this one old senator-also a former racist senator who has always defended his liberal as well as conservative views-is none other than that state's favorite son, robert byrd. suppose he were a republican; would he even have had a chance to get away? no!
i'm convinced this man has the secret between himself and bush-cheney, and he gets away because he's a democrat pretending to be a liberal democrat. every liberal and democrat should that! the secret's been out there-the talk shows have been talking crazy him since bush left office and obama became president! take off your blinders, people, before it's too late and maybe this senator becames president. he would ronald reagan look like a wipper snapper!

Posted by: 8331vienna | May 29, 2009 10:58 PM | Report abuse

It will be interesting to watch Obama sitting in the confirmation hearings explaining to the committee what Sotomayor's answers to their questions really mean and how she didn't say them right.

Posted by: chatard | May 29, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Racism is fine with minoritys, as long as the racist is Democratic, and directs there racism at a. "Typical White Person"


"YES WE CAN"

Posted by: dashriprock | May 29, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Why should a hateful racist lesbian be sitting on the highest court in the land ???

Posted by: jellyhouse56

>>>>>>

Maybe because he threatened the Nation with the disease Queen Napolitano, so we all ran for cover under anything but Janet, ( the vendor of illness and blight to the World and it's Sovereign borders)?

Now that Sotomayor has begun the process with a Pelosi style "foot inserted in Mouth", it is best to just drop her and move on to keep from alienating voters from these two Partys, all together.

Posted by: dottydo | May 29, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Bob22003
I guess he [hasn't figured out that going to Princeton, Harvard, becoming a successful lawyer, judge, and appellate court judge tends to offset a few weird remarks]
---------------------------------
What? I mean, WTF are you saying. No "few weird" libtard remarks please for the person sitting in the highest court in the land... especially if they are supposed to no better. Freakin dumb. If she says she made a gaff I can accept that and move on. If she defends it...No can do

Posted by: DD163 | May 29, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Jeez - I hate the word "Latina." Where the heck was she born - in some sort of ghetto in the Bronx? Thought it was still part of America. Has a nice story, but a 60% overturn rate - doesn't bode well for those who don't think the Constitution (what's left of it) is a rubber band. Looking at this latest offer and the reasoning (such as it is) that lies behind it, pretty obvious we're going down the drain. As groups, of course, never individuals.

Posted by: rraustin1 | May 29, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

All this fuss about nothing! It is disingenuous at best, and patently dishonest at its core. When I read about Gingrich's and Limbaugh's comments I had to laugh (while ignoring the insult to my intelligence). Why? Because it's just more proof (as if more is needed) that Conservative hypocrisy has no bottom. There is no such thing as a "low blow", given their "us vs them so anything goes" mentality.

And how sad the spectacle! To stop this exceptionally educated and well-qualified woman, after data mining how many decades' worth of her writings and speeches on any subject (?), some 2nd rate research assistant at some third-rate Republican think-tank dredges up a few phrases from a speech she gave at UC Berkeley of all places (that hotbed of revolutionary fervor) nearly a decade ago -- as if it matters.

Oh how to make a mountain out of a molehill! Limbaugh and Gingrich should give lessons in this art, which they have mastered.

Even worse, their carping is disingenuous because these same con-spinners have said, thought and written worse about anyone who they perceive as an ideological enemy, especially non-white/2nd and 3rd generation immigrant descendants. "Like the pot calling the kettle black", borrowing an old expression, although these Conservatives typically would use a pithier word for "black" ("The N-word") with a sly smile.

In their benighted view, Conservatives suggest only candidates who march in mindless lockstep with their political perspective automatically qualify for high office; anyone else must also qualify for sainthood, a standard that none of these critics could hope to meet themselves. The stench of such hypocrisy is too much.

Posted by: hogsmile | May 29, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

I say Sotomayor wins her Supreme Court appointment hands down, crushing the insects from the rightwing. Got any money? Bet me

Posted by: dudh | May 29, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

So, is she a Latina -OR- an American? She seems to think she can be only one.

Like many other Latinos/Latinas she comes across as very race-focused. Maybe hinting at racist tendancies?

Posted by: meadmkr | May 29, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Many public speakers later regret what they said in the past when an opportunity comes up they don't want to miss. It's more than a "poor choice of words." Racist comments reflect a racist mentality, neither of which belong in the Supreme Court of the United States. A Supreme Court justice is a final arbitrator of US law. Would you want a racist deciding how you live?

Posted by: bob59 | May 29, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

She is no more racist than any other supporter of race-based "affirmative action," and there are 4 or 5 of them on the Supreme Court already.

Posted by: dennis10 | May 29, 2009 8:52 PM


That makes 4 or 5 too many.Don't need any more leftist slugs on the court.

Posted by: LarryG62 | May 29, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

So let's see - they're in an uproar because she thinks that a Latina judge might make a better jurist than a white man. That's the statement they want to use to bar her.

But Clarence Thomas asking who put a pubic hair on his Coke can was cool.
(see http://gos.sbc.edu/h/hill.html )

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | May 29, 2009 9:34 PM


Is that the best you got lib?

Posted by: cschotta1 | May 29, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

So let's see - they're in an uproar because she thinks that a Latina judge might make a better jurist than a white man. That's the statement they want to use to bar her.

But Clarence Thomas asking who put a pubic hair on his Coke can was cool.
(see http://gos.sbc.edu/h/hill.html )

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | May 29, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

obummer couldn't find a black smart enough for SCOTUS?

Posted by: charlietuna666 | May 29, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Barry was for Sonia before he was against her, ha ha ha

Her nomination is sinking faster than Tom Daschle's....

Posted by: Phil6 | May 29, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

With Obama and Gibbs out there lying through their teeth, it's obvious that words aren't the only poor choice. This judge is as racist as Obama, Holder and the rest of the incompetent in chief's cabal of leftists. She appears to be unqualified like the rest of them.
What a disgrace this administration is to decent people.

Posted by: LarryG62 | May 29, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Why should a hateful racist lesbian be sitting on the highest court in the land ???

Posted by: jellyhouse56 | May 29, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

So the White House has to explain what Sotomayor's words mean and don't mean. Isn't this lady an Appeals Court Judge? One would think she could explain her own words. Aren't judges supposed to be good at explaining things?

Posted by: georgegarrett | May 29, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

We all make poor word choices from time to time. Most of the time, reasonable people understand what we are trying to say and help us out. I listened to Judge Sotomayor making her remarks in a longer sound bite. She said nothing offensive nor to put other people down. What has happened is that those who complain about her comments have gone over the top in their comments. They have become insulting and repulsive.

When all is said and done, the people who stand to lose this argument are those who have attacked the judge without foundation. Remember how these same people attacked Bill Clinton? His favorability numbers continued to rise during the attack. Bill Clinton was not convicted in his impeachment trial. Yet some of the attackers had to resign their positions. Let's see, we have adulterer Newt lashing out. We have drug addict Rush lashing out. These guys can throw stones?!

Posted by: EarlC | May 29, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

That's right Republicans, attack Sotomayor. Compare her to Duke. You are pigs. You are chemically bombing defenseless children for oil contracts and you think you have a right to talk about frigging justice?

Posted by: rhyer | May 29, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

@mgd

It's not an appellate judge's job to consider constitutional issues. That's the Supreme Court's job.

It's also not an appellate judge's job to overturn existing laws simply because they reach a poor result in one case. That's judicial activism.

There is a reason the decision was unanimous, and a reason the judges indicated their displeasure with the result in the same decision. I don't like the result either, but the solution is a legislative change to title VII.

Posted by: Nissl | May 29, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me that Sonia Sotomayor's is just the latest in a very long line of Obama appointees, associates & "friends" who have had a poor choice of words. "Words, just words." And as always those who question Obamas choice will be labeled one of the ISTS. Unless they are effective, then he will throw her under the bus.

Posted by: pauldia | May 29, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

This is TRULY ridiculous! An off the cuff remark being taken out of context is unfair.
This nonsense has to stop.

Posted by: peterroach | May 29, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

She is no more racist than any other supporter of race-based "affirmative action," and there are 4 or 5 of them on the Supreme Court already.

Posted by: dennis10 | May 29, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Her comments shed light on her decision to legally block earned and merited promotions of white male firemen in New Haven. A decision that the Supreme Court is about to reverse as she failed to consider the constitutional merits raised by the firemen.

It fits a pattern of racist discrimination and legal ignorance. Any wonder that Obama made sure the NAACP was at the announcement to cheer him and his cause?

I am a Democrat who has had enough.

Posted by: mgd1 | May 29, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it was a poor choice of words. This single comment is the only legitimate complaint the GOP has come up with to date. And it's one inartful sentence in one speech she's given over the past two decades. I dare you to do better with the track record of any recent president or presidential candidate.

Is there a bit of subconscious identity politics in the back of Sotomayor's mind? Probably, but the rest of the same speech in question is about her attempts to recognize and address that fact.

Posted by: Nissl | May 29, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

LOL. She said exactly what she meant. This was a prepared speech, later published. The choice of words could not have been more deliberate.

The poor choice was made by the 4% of the electorate last November, when they were mesmerized by the golden teleprompter. We're reaping the consequences.

Posted by: zjr78xva | May 29, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

The "white male" comment is indicative of a small minded person who is not Supreme Court material. Judge Sotomayor may be an intelligent and good person but divisive statements, made in public, will come back to haunt her.

That combined with her ruling on the white firefighters in New York is suggestive of an activist judge with an agenda that is not appropriate to earn her a lifetime job like the Supreme Court. This reminds us of Judge Thomas, another ill-advised appointee who has been a mediocre and unproductive member of the Court.

Of all the people Obama could have picked, why did he have to go with this one? It's obviously pure politics. Roberts was a much better nomination, someone with whom the then-opposition Democrats could find little fault.

If Obama insists on defending the Sotomayor nomination, he will expend a lot of political capital and even if he wins it will completely undermine his stated goal to unite the country and get past partisan politics.

Posted by: ttraub | May 29, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Hate to be critical republican but criticized is misspelled.

Posted by: rhyer | May 29, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Obama playbook: Criticise a black or hispanic person and you're a racist.

Posted by: Atenora | May 29, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

She said appellate courts are where laws are finalized in many cases and it is from these laws policies are determined. That's hard to understand. She said her life experiences provide her with a unique background and insight and it is imperative she not allow it to affect her her decisions. Boy, that's hard to understand. She's smarter than all you Summa Cum Spamheads rolled into a gigantic wad of dead Iraqis you vaporized for Halliburton and Jesus because Judgement is one of your assets. You're Big Oil piglets and tomorrow you'll be a day older piglet. Need a job. Go hang from a chopper in Baghdad for Dick moving to Dubai with Daddy Halliburton and Jesus.

Posted by: rhyer | May 29, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

If the right-wingers and Republicans making all these ridiculous comments about Judge Sotomayor were acting out of hypocricy or malice, then we could handle that. Unfortunately, these people truly believe in their world view and that is not only much sadder, but also dangerous. These people are fearful of change, authority, or anything that rocks the boat of their established paradigms. They have neither the ability nor courage to question existing orders or to change their opinions. They rely on others' experience and totally discount their own....not trusting themselves and looking to authority/father figures to show them what to do. When they start being capable of wrestling with the issues of the day...of giving deliberate thought and attention to others points of view, then perhaps they will finally have something valuable to contribute. Until then we must accept them the way they are. That is the essence of democracy as well as maturity and grace.

Posted by: freundbd | May 29, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

...but then coupled with her attempt to quash the case of white male firemen who passed the test for promotion but who were denied that promotion because they are white.

Her speech is evidence of a racist mind and her actions are evidence she will act on that.

Her speech was not some poor choice of words but rather a slip of the tongue that revealed the inner recesses of her mind.

The speech was given in Berkeley, a place where she no doubt felt comfortable in spewing such speech.

Like any racist she should be punished. After all, if Holmes was such a terribly racist justice why then should we repeat that error with Sotomayor?

Posted by: krankyman | May 29, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Oh for heavens sake the party of NO just has to have something to whine about and someone to whine about they never stop with their stupidness besides imo shes right just look at the screwups bush and cheney and their sidekicks created (white men for the most part).Leave her alone and lets move on.Im just thankfull he picked a woman.If shes not perfect big deal shes human and no humans perfect...oh wait except bush we all know mr flightsuit george never made a mistake ha ha ha.

Posted by: smorrow | May 29, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

If she gets confirmed she should watch out for Justice Uncle Thomas. She should keep any open glass of Coke covered.

Posted by: fudador | May 29, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse


There are many reasons why Sotomayor shouldn’t be on the Supreme Court but most stem from 2 statements she made:

“Courts are where policy is made”

And

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

Sotomayor doesn’t belong anywhere near the Supreme Court.
I believe what Sotomayor says and not what the media pimps say what they think she meant.

Posted by: ekim53 | May 29, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Even from her under the bus perspective,
Obama's "typical white person"(Obama) grandmother
would not be offended by this.

Posted by: hammerhead1 | May 29, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

I don't think a white male who had said that white males more often than not reach better conclusions on the bench than Latinos would even be nominated much less confirmed. So why hasn't this Latina withdrawn her nomination?

Posted by: fudador | May 29, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Seriously?! The right wing conservatives are hanging their hats on a 32 word out of context sentence. Isn't this the same thing Limbaugh,Beck,Hannity et al. complain about when they get caught saying things that sound racist, homophobic, anti-immigrant,misogynistic, that their words were taken out of context? Then they go and do the exact same thing. I guess their hypocrisy knows no bounds.

I think this is just further proof that whenever conservatives are out of power they become nothing more than a "He-man woman haters gang".

Points of fact: Hillary Clinton was derided by the right as being a too involved first lady and daring to push a health care reform agenda. Then running for the Senate nothing more than a power hungry politician.

Republican fall out of power again and now who is the new target: Nancy Pelosi for daring say that the CIA(a spy agency) was not fully truthful.

Who have taken the longest to be confirmed to positions? Seblius and Duckworth.

Now with Sotomayor, when have you ever heard such hemming and hawing about someone's intellect who graduated summa cum laude from anywhere much less Princeton and was an editor of the Yale Law journal.
Seriously?!

Posted by: Ironcomments | May 29, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Former Bush administration adviser Karl Rove has questioned the intellect of Sotomayor, a graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School...",
Hahahaha, Karl Rove never graduated from college.

"Limbaugh today compared Sotomayor to Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and has labeled her "a reverse racist".." This from a guy who plays the song "Barak the Magic Negro" on his show, hahaha, The Daily show writers must have the easiest job in the world.

I guess since the hatred for Pelosi lost it's zest it is time to find another woman to beat up on.

Posted by: Ironcomments | May 29, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

If you have to go back 8 years to find a poor choice of words in a single sentence, stretch and bend it to make this woman appear to have a superiority complex, than you are indeed quite desperate! Rush Limbaugh calling anyone a racist is laughable in itself. That blowhard has been blatantly racist for as long as he's been preaching to his uneducated audience.

Posted by: randysbailin | May 29, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse


The comment reflects reality. Think of silver spoon George Bush or Cheney or one of Bush's Skull and Bones buddies trying to put themselves in the shoes of someone who has had to struggle to get anywhere.

Shame on Obama for even dignifying the complaint by the right wingers by making a response!

Posted by: wj_phillips | May 29, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Maybe she should have told a black person to take the bone out of their nose, or compared Jesse Jackson to the wanted photos of criminals, and the GOP would have embraced her.

Posted by: hitpoints | May 29, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, but I don't see a problem with Sotomayor's remarks; in fact, I agree with them. The White House is being a little quick on the trigger here and has insulted Sotomayor by answering for her.

Posted by: netgotham | May 29, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

"Standard left drivel, defending racism when directed at white men. "out of context"...not quite, likely she was pandering to her liberal audience seeking praise for being "brave" to spout such trash."

Did you read the context to find out? Did you read her entire speech? Or do you like to spout authoritatively about things you concede are merely "likely", meaning, you have no idea.

Posted by: hitpoints | May 29, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

"She clearly believes a Latina woman is superior to a white man."

She said nothing of the sort.

Posted by: hitpoints | May 29, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Good thing she didn't say anything to criticize gays. That would have been the end of her career.

Posted by: pkhenry | May 29, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

You are right,
Why can't white males show the dignity that Obama's "typical white" grandmother
showed as he kicked her beneath the wheels of the bus in his quest?
Such grace and dignity is rarely seen.

Posted by: hammerhead1 | May 29, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Was it a poor choice of words when Michelle said "it was the first time she was proud of America?"

The whole world revolves around these narcissists occupying the White House.

Posted by: pkhenry | May 29, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Her years on the bench has proven that Sotomeyor has clear insight into complex issues .But she is not perfect, only King Solomon was the perfect judge. Sotomeyor has her enemies. There are those that do not want to see an Hispanic woman from the South Bronx projects sit on the highest court. They will be disappointed because no congressman will reject her application and commit political suicide.

Posted by: melvin_polatnick | May 29, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Indignant white males are a beautiful species to behold-throwing a hissy fit at perceived discriminatory remarks. All the while, they blissfully exist in a society that has nowhere near the amount of structural discrimination placed against them as most other minority groups.
More and more my fellow brethren are looking like spoiled children.

Posted by: CypressTree | May 29, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Now we know that Obama's "typical white
person" characterization of his own grandmother, as he flung her beneath the wheels of the bus, was no fluke.

Posted by: hammerhead1 | May 29, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Poor Wood Choice? This was a deliberate statement that was part of a speech. She clearly believes a Latina woman is superior to a white man. That a person of here educational pedigree, indeed, a US appellate judge, could make such statements is beyond astounding. A complete lack of judgement, maybe; but poor word choice, NOT....

Shall we accept prejudicial statements from some and avert I ears when they come from others? Come on America, double standards were what got us into trouble to begin with. Let's not now accept what we KNOW is unacceptable simply because the person is not a white male!

Posted by: lovinliberty | May 29, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Poor choice of words, now that is stating the obvious!
So when it comes to the hearings, as Ricky use to say to Lucy, you got some splanin to do.

Posted by: FormerNewYorkerNo9 | May 29, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Standard left drivel, defending racism when directed at white men. "out of context"...not quite, likely she was pandering to her liberal audience seeking praise for being "brave" to spout such trash.

Posted by: BlueMax1 | May 29, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Now we know that Obama's "typical white
person" characterization of his own grandmother, as he flung her beneth the wheels of the bus, was no fluke.

Posted by: hammerhead1 | May 29, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Apparently she farted on April 12th of 2001 which should probably be discussed as well.

Posted by: CypressTree | May 29, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm a white male who was once passed over for a position because of affirmative action. My employer told me he had no choice. I agreed it was necessary and accepted it.

My life is now most likely better than it would have been if I had gotten that job 30 years ago.

Posted by: rooster54 | May 29, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Who today thinks the Dred Scott v. Sanford decision was correct?

Was it a correct interpretation of the Constitution? Was justice blind in that Supreme Court? Was it a dispassionate interpretation of law, not influenced by the era or the personal beliefs of the justices?

2 judges in that case dissented. If 3 of the other judges had been former slaves, do you realistically expect the court would have arrived at the same decision? If the SC had such justices, do you think they _should_ have reached the same decision?

Posted by: hitpoints | May 29, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Her speech makes a good argument. Following her line of reasoning she is not culturally sensitive enough to preside over cases where most men, and all people from a non-Latin background, are involved.

Posted by: morattico | May 29, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the leftist apologists were wrong....even Obama knows racism when he hears it....

The left, if judged by their standards, always fails to meet minimal expectations.

Posted by: georgedixon1 | May 29, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Make that Pharisees.

Posted by: rooster54 | May 29, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

That is just the main problem with Sotomayor, bachman737, if judged by actions, in her case her judgments, she should not be promoted and allowed into the highest court of this country. Her judgments are promoting so named "reverse racism", and clearly so. I think that Obama and she would be wise to withdraw this nomination, either on her or his initiative, they could choose the best approach. Person with her judgments' records can't be promoted to Supreme Court, no matter how good her education is, how smart she-herself is, how humble was her beginning, etc.

Posted by: aepelbaum | May 29, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Bad choice of words. Arrogance shouldn't fit so neatly into a sound bite.

Posted by: blasmaic | May 29, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Goofy Old Parisees straining gnats and swallowing camels as usual.

Posted by: rooster54 | May 29, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Seriously?! The right wing conservatives are hanging their hats on a 32 word out of context sentence. Isn't this the same thing Limbaugh,Beck,Hannity et al. complain about when they get caught saying things that sound racist, homophobic, anti-immigrant,misogynistic, that their words were taken out of context? Then they go and do the exact same thing. I guess their hypocrisy knows no bounds.

I think this is just further proof that whenever conservatives are out of power they become nothing more than a "He-man woman haters gang".

Points of fact: Hillary Clinton was derided by the right as being a too involved first lady and daring to push a health care reform agenda. Then running for the Senate nothing more than a power hungry politician.

Republican fall out of power again and now who is the new target: Nancy Pelosi for daring say that the CIA(a spy agency) was not fully truthful.

Who have taken the longest to be confirmed to positions? Seblius and Duckworth.

Now with Sotomayor, when have you ever heard such hemming and hawing about someone's intellect who graduated summa cum laude from anywhere much less Princeton and was an editor of the Yale Law journal.
Seriously?!

Posted by: Ironcomments | May 29, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Maybe if Sotomayor had a "typical white
person"(Obama) grandfather she had thrown under the bus in her quest, much the same as Obama threw his "typical white person"(Obama) grandmother under the bus in his quest, she might not be getting this scolding from the racist and chief.

After all she limited her racists comment to only the male half of the entire "typical white person"(Obama) world.
While Obama targeted the entire world's
"typical white person"(Obama) population.

DO you think Obama would ever consider appointing an untypical white person?

Posted by: hammerhead1 | May 29, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

asoders22 wrote: Well, she was probably right in 2001 and what she said then would be right now. She knows it, Obama knows it and probably even conservative white males know it.

-------------------------------------------

Chalk up another vote for flat out racism and bigotry. When will we learn to stop tearing open this old wound and allow the vitriolic cancerous wound of racism heal?

Posted by: michaelellis29 | May 29, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Funny. It is a bad choice of words, but not because the words were racist. Rather, because they leave a lot of room for desperate partisans to paint them as racist. Read on for examples.

Posted by: nodebris | May 29, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

So she got a little carried away.

Judge people by their actions, not words!

If the GOP prefers, here's another poor choice of words.

Just five words, in fact: CLARENCE THOMAS AND ANITA HILL.

Posted by: bachman737 | May 29, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

tinyjab40 wrote:

Don't you love it? One thirty-second remark by Sonja Sotomayor in 2001 occupies God only knows how many column inches in newspapers like the Washington Post, half the air time on CNN since she's been nominated, and probably more than half the air time on Fox News for the next thirty days. If I didn't know better, I might think the media are mining this to fill space and time.

I might also think Limbaugh, Gingrich, Tancredo and the others are mining it because she is really qualified and they can't dig up anything else.

--------------------------------------

Or, it could just be that new racism is better than old racism.

Posted by: michaelellis29 | May 29, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Well, she was probably right in 2001 and what she said then would be right now. She knows it, Obama knows it and probably even conservative white males know it.

Posted by: asoders22 | May 29, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Paging Reverend Wright.
Paging Reverend Wright.

Posted by: georgejones5 | May 29, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Also: Sotomayor's remark was not that a Latina judge "might" rule better, or "would" as some are reporting. She said she _hoped_ that in cases involving gender and racial discrimination, a wise Latina judge would offer a better judgement than someone who had never experienced such discrimination.

Sotomayor: "Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society. Until 1972, no Supreme Court case ever upheld the claim of a woman in a gender discrimination case. I, like Professor Carter, believe that we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group. Many are so capable. As Judge Cedarbaum pointed out to me, nine white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues including Brown.

However, to understand takes time and effort, something that not all people are willing to give. For others, their experiences limit their ability to understand the experiences of others. Other simply do not care. Hence, one must accept the proposition that a difference there will be by the presence of women and people of color on the bench. Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see. My hope is that I will take the good from my experiences and extrapolate them further into areas with which I am unfamiliar. I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage."

I can't disagree with that.

Posted by: hitpoints | May 29, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Don't you love it? One thirty-second remark by Sonja Sotomayor in 2001 occupies God only knows how many column inches in newspapers like the Washington Post, half the air time on CNN since she's been nominated, and probably more than half the air time on Fox News for the next thirty days. If I didn't know better, I might think the media are mining this to fill space and time.

I might also think Limbaugh, Gingrich, Tancredo and the others are mining it because she is really qualified and they can't dig up anything else.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | May 29, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Well duh... It would be naive of us to think that Democrats could not be racist. History supports that whomever is in power will cause harm to those out of power. So what else is new. Just someone that has worked hard her whole life, now its under the microscope and as it should be.

What outstanding work has this judge written? History will show as a supreme court justice she was not the leader that she thought she was. But we shall she. She has my support anyways.

Posted by: robinhood2 | May 29, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I believe the comment at issue is "First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

Only a committed propagandist and racist of the right would attempt to construe this anti-racist comment as "racist." We are living in backward world when such charges are given serious credence. There is really no point in responding to these right wing racists on this issue. She is plainly saying that she hopes that a minority person who has had life experiences only available to a minority person would make better decisions than a person who is white and male and has not had access to those experiences. If that's racist, then I want to be a racist! But it's not, because the kind of experience she has had, and that a minority person might have had, DOES provide a kind of wisdom that is more difficult for a member of a majority culture or group to access. ONLY racists will dispute that proposition... and ONLY racists would be objecting to a nomination based on one comment taken out of context from a larger speech and life.

I have to believe this is a tempest in a teapot, and if the current poll numbers for the Repbulican party are any guide, this is all part of their ongoing circular firing squad. Maybe Obama is even being smart by keeping it alive - but I suspect he's just caving as he does consistently whenever the far right needs to be appeased.

Posted by: mike777r | May 29, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Sotomayer said that she "hoped" that a Latina female would make better decision. She didn't even state a fact, but just a desire or wish which didn't suggest any racism belief, but an observation about human nature and the hope that another person with difference life experiences could make better decisions that impacted a different segment of the population within the context of justice, fairness, and the law.

Posted by: TabLUnoLCSWfromUtah | May 29, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I really don't care if Lady justice is Hispanic or not... but she ought not to be peeking out from behind her blindfold in an attempt to see to whom her ruling relates... http://www.UpYoursObama.com

Posted by: UpYoursObama | May 29, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Gibbs is a buffoon who needs to be gone from that job. He's the worst press secretary in decades.

Posted by: mtravali | May 29, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe Limbaugh and Gingrich had the nerve to call somebody else a racist.

Posted by: gitouttahere | May 29, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Most people commenting on this issue appear to have no knowledge of what Sotomayor was talking about, what topics she had been discussing, or other statements she made in the same speech that could assuage the outrageous nature that some ascribe to her comment. Even the media, even NPR interviewers, for crying out loud, just repeat the in-the-news line of hers and ask for reactions from various people.

And of course judges and the Supremes made rulings that are in some way based on their opinions, backgrounds, and environment. Otherwise, were it only a matter of dispassionately applying the law, we'd have 9-0 SCOTUS rulings each time. How could it be that we get 5-4, 6-3, etc? Judges are not computer programs.

If you are the inquisitive type who likes to dig into issues and not just swallow what the MSM feeds in sound-bites, then read Sotomayor's full speech at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/15/us/politics/15judge.text.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

If you're the type who likes to rant and rave without ever bothering to educate yourself because you (or Rush) already know it all, then nothing can help you.

Posted by: hitpoints | May 29, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Rush Limbaugh is criticizing someone for making one ill-advised remark....doesn't he earn his living by making thousands of ill-advised remarks? I guess he hasn't figured out that going to Princeton, Harvard, becoming a successful lawyer, judge, and appellate court judge tends to offset a few weird remarks. Besides, if weird remarks were disqualifying factors for the Supreme Court, Thomas and Scalia would have been off the Court years ago. Limbaugh should go back to abusing Oxycontin. With any luck, he'll overdose and we won't need to hear any more about him.

Posted by: Bob22003 | May 29, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

I think it's disgusting for them to try to put words in her mouth. She knows what she said, and what she said was damned true. I hope when she's in her hearing she says just that.

Posted by: mtravali | May 29, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Racism is nominating Clarence Uncle Thomas solely because he's a black man who opposes affirmative action.

Racism is one thing. Ethnic pride is another. Racism is trying to turn ethnic pride into racism.

Posted by: Garak | May 29, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Justice Samuel Alito made a much more damning reference to relying on his Italian heritage to inform his decisions and I didn't hear the right-wing nutjobs attacking him! In his 2006 confirmation hearing testimony, Alito said the following:

“When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background, or because of religion or because of gender and I do take that into account.”

OK, so the darling of the right gets to "TAKE THAT INTO ACCOUNT" without anyone accusing him of racism, or activism or anti-constitutionalism, but the Latina is damned? Hypocrites.

And as Joan Walsh of Salon pointed out, this was referencing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's comment that a wise old man and a wise old woman would likely come to the same conclusion in cases.

Seriously, the Republicans are about as tone deaf as can be, but where is the rest of the media in reporting the Alito quote DURING HIS HEARINGS? Melissa Block of NPR is where I heard it, thank God. This is all they've got? Thank God for Rushbo and Newt -- Dems should be in good shape for the next century if they keep it up. Nobody likes hypocrites, guys.

Posted by: Omyobama | May 29, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Rush Limbaugh and David Duke.
The rest of us moved on.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 29, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

it was racist and sexist. no pass here.
when robert kkk byrd used the word N - I - G - G - E - R twice the dems gave him a pass.
but when a republican was giving a toast for strom thurmond saying America would be a different place if he had been elected president and never once saif it was because of race, he had to resign the leadership.
when dems are charged with crimes they get to keep committee ships but republicans are required to resign.
when dems are caught stealing from the givernment for failure to pay taxes, well that is just a mistake, but taxpayers go to prison.

time is up -
no more passes - no more sexist racists - dump her!

Posted by: infantry11b4faus | May 29, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm torn. 1. If you're going to be on the Supreme Court - you should already be skilled enough to know when NOT to use a "poor choice of words." 2. I'm not sure it merited a White House response. Leave it alone - it would have gone away on it's own. By acknowledging it, Gibbs gives the story life.

Posted by: mwcob | May 29, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

I agree, poor choice of words.

Posted by: nodebris | May 29, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company