How McConnell and Gingrich reacted to Judge Sotomayor’s 'wise Latina' comments

Mitch waffled, while Newt called Sonia a racist.

You may remember when appeals court justice Sonia Sotomayor delivered a controversial speech in 2001. 

In 2009, the New York Times remembered:

In her speech, Judge Sotomayor questioned the famous notion — often invoked by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her retired Supreme Court colleague, Sandra Day O’Connor — that a wise old man and a wise old woman would reach the same conclusion when deciding cases.

“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,” said Judge Sotomayor, who is now considered to be near the top of President Obama’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees.

Her remarks, at the annual Judge Mario G. Olmos Law and Cultural Diversity Lecture at the University of California, Berkeley, were not the only instance in which she has publicly described her view of judging in terms that could provoke sharp questioning in a confirmation hearing.

The Times May 14, 2998 article, written by Charlie Savage and entitled “A Judge’s View of Judging Is on the Record,” also stated:

Judge Sotomayor has given several speeches about the importance of diversity. But her 2001 remarks at Berkeley, which were published by the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal, went further, asserting that judges’ identities will affect legal outcomes.

“Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences,” she said, for jurists who are women and nonwhite, “our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.’”

As Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing approached, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office released this statement on May 26, 2009:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement Tuesday regarding the President’s announcement of his intent to nominate Judge Sonia Sotomayor to fill the upcoming vacancy on the Supreme Court:

“Senate Republicans will treat Judge Sotomayor fairly. But we will thoroughly examine her record to ensure she understands that the role of a jurist in our democracy is to apply the law even-handedly, despite their own feelings or personal or political preferences.

“Our Democratic colleagues have often remarked that the Senate is not a ‘rubber stamp.’ Accordingly, we trust they will ensure there is adequate time to prepare for this nomination, and a full and fair opportunity to question the nominee and debate her qualifications.”

Boilerplate stuff.

And what did former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich have to say about Sotomayor’s nomination?

Not so boilerplate stuff.

ABC News reported, on May 27, 2009:

Just a day after President Obama announced he was nominating appellate court judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, the battle over her confirmation has begun with former House speaker Newt Gingrich branding her a racist and saying she should withdraw.

The accusations are aimed at comments Sotomayor made during a 2001 lecture at the University of California-Berkeley. Referring to former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's saying that ‘a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases,’ Sotomayor said, ‘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.’

On Wednesday afternoon, Gingrich wrote on Twitter: ‘Imagine a judicial nominee said 'my experience as a white man makes me better than a Latina woman' new racism is no better than old racism.’

Efforts to locate a 2009 press release concerning Judge Sotomayor released from the office of then simply congressman Paul Ryan of the 1st District of Wisconsin met with negative results.  

And still do.

Mitch waffled, while Newt called Sonia a racist.

You may remember when appeals court justice Sonia Sotomayor delivered a controversial speech in 2001. 

In 2009, the New York Times remembered:

In her speech, Judge Sotomayor questioned the famous notion — often invoked by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her retired Supreme Court colleague, Sandra Day O’Connor — that a wise old man and a wise old woman would reach the same conclusion when deciding cases.

“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,” said Judge Sotomayor, who is now considered to be near the top of President Obama’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees.

Her remarks, at the annual Judge Mario G. Olmos Law and Cultural Diversity Lecture at the University of California, Berkeley, were not the only instance in which she has publicly described her view of judging in terms that could provoke sharp questioning in a confirmation hearing.

The Times May 14, 2998 article, written by Charlie Savage and entitled “A Judge’s View of Judging Is on the Record,” also stated:

Judge Sotomayor has given several speeches about the importance of diversity. But her 2001 remarks at Berkeley, which were published by the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal, went further, asserting that judges’ identities will affect legal outcomes.

“Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences,” she said, for jurists who are women and nonwhite, “our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.’”

As Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing approached, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office released this statement on May 26, 2009:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement Tuesday regarding the President’s announcement of his intent to nominate Judge Sonia Sotomayor to fill the upcoming vacancy on the Supreme Court:

“Senate Republicans will treat Judge Sotomayor fairly. But we will thoroughly examine her record to ensure she understands that the role of a jurist in our democracy is to apply the law even-handedly, despite their own feelings or personal or political preferences.

“Our Democratic colleagues have often remarked that the Senate is not a ‘rubber stamp.’ Accordingly, we trust they will ensure there is adequate time to prepare for this nomination, and a full and fair opportunity to question the nominee and debate her qualifications.”

Boilerplate stuff.

And what did former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich have to say about Sotomayor’s nomination?

Not so boilerplate stuff.

ABC News reported, on May 27, 2009:

Just a day after President Obama announced he was nominating appellate court judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, the battle over her confirmation has begun with former House speaker Newt Gingrich branding her a racist and saying she should withdraw.

The accusations are aimed at comments Sotomayor made during a 2001 lecture at the University of California-Berkeley. Referring to former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's saying that ‘a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases,’ Sotomayor said, ‘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.’

On Wednesday afternoon, Gingrich wrote on Twitter: ‘Imagine a judicial nominee said 'my experience as a white man makes me better than a Latina woman' new racism is no better than old racism.’

Efforts to locate a 2009 press release concerning Judge Sotomayor released from the office of then simply congressman Paul Ryan of the 1st District of Wisconsin met with negative results.  

And still do.