May 26th, 2009
06:01 PM ET
5 years ago

Steele: GOP must be careful on Sotomayor

Michael Steele says the GOP does not 'want to be perceived as a bully.'
Michael Steele says the GOP does not 'want to be perceived as a bully.'

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The head of the Republican Party wants his forces to watch their steps when it comes to Supreme Court hopeful Sonia Sotomayor.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele told CNN Radio Tuesday the party that he hopes will include more Hispanics must be cautious in how it scrutinizes a groundbreaking Latina judge.

"You want to be careful," he said when asked about juggling Hispanic outreach with potential opposition to Sotomayor, "You don't want to be perceived as a bully."

Indeed, Steele was mild in his initial jabs, calling Sotomayor an "interesting pick" with "overwhelming political overtones to it." The RNC chairman listed classic conservative question marks. "We do have some reservations and concerns about her views on the second amendment, her views on abortion, her views on property rights," he said.

Listen: Steele on Sotomayor:


On abortion, Steele said his is concern is that "we don't know much about her," since Sotomayor has had relatively few abortion rulings.

But overall, the new Republican leader is calling for the GOP to avoid the explosive rhetoric attached to many Supreme Court fights.

"I think our party right now will avoid the partisan knee-jerk judgements that typically come with these things," Steele said.

The chairman followed his own advice. When asked if he agrees with some conservatives that Sotomayor is a so-called "activist judge," Steele replied: "Based on what I know, it's hard to say with a high degree of certainty."


Filed under: Michael Steele • Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. Video Guy

    He needs to tell Russ and the other GOP Leaders

    May 26, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  2. tee

    Steele, Rush did not get the memo.

    May 26, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  3. itbeme

    he must not have gotten the message to lush in time.....

    May 26, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  4. Neilz

    Who is that talking? That's not Michael Steele!? I DON'T KNOW WHAT PLANET YOU'RE FROM, BUT BRING BACK MICHAEL STEELE. There are dozens of comedians and half-witted commentators lost without our Chairman of the Bored. It's a down economy with the most popular President in history. They need the work. My God, you People or Things or Whatever, have you no Mercy? SEND MICHAEL STEELE HOME!

    May 26, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  5. Susan

    This a totally phony dog and pony show. The Republicans can't and won't stop this nomination, and they know it.

    May 26, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  6. Love

    Sorry Michael steele its way toooo late, Latinos in America know better! They will never support the party of NO!

    May 26, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "her views on abortion"

    Right. It's important that we uphold the Constitution when it comes to the 2nd Amendment, but the separation of church and state codified in the First Amendment and the "penumbra of rights" created by the first FIVE Amendments...that can all go fornicate itself.

    May 26, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  8. Lynne - Seattle

    Apparently, Rush didn't get the message...look at the next story up on this ticker...Rush calls her a Racist! That's going to bring a lot of Latinos into the republican party!

    May 26, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  9. Pegwin

    I guess only the democats would select an "activist" judge. Just what do the rethuglican'ts call the jurists who selected the 43rd president, if not activist??????

    May 26, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  10. Jesse

    I am sure that anybody who is not white is a racist in his eyes. If in fact he had his way ALL people of color would be screwd, not to mention all the other people who do not fit into the "repuclican" mold. Good thing most of Americans today are not as stupid as the old guard.

    May 26, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  11. Kyle

    I agree with Rush. Sotomayor is a bad choice to seat in the high court.

    May 26, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  12. tedious898

    No Mr. Steele! Please don't stop now. Let America know how the GOP feels about minorities. Certainly you represent less than .003 percent of GOP African Americans in the country.

    I would anticipate the majority of Latinos and African Americans will remain Progressives (not Democrat Socialist Party members) until the change of this millineum.

    I honestly believe that Trip Palin will be Govenor of Alaska the next time a Republican President is elected to the White House. But wouldn't bet on it though

    May 26, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  13. Robin in Tampa, FL

    I think you need to do a better job Mr. Steele of silencing the rhetoric that is coming out of your side of the media, for instance today have Rush Limbaugh saying he wants her to fail and claiming reverse discrimination in the pick ... do you think most voters are going to look favorably on such remarks? Let's put it this way, right now Rush is the voice of the party and You, Dick Cheney, and Karl Rove have basically legitimizing him by siding with him on several occasions, and never once have you criticized him.

    May 26, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  14. ObamaVAgrl

    "I think our party right now will avoid the partisan knee-jerk judgements that typically come with these things," Steele said.

    I will go out on a limb and say that within the week some offensive remark will come out of the Republican Party. I enjoy watching these losers sabotage themselves.

    I like the direction our nation is taking.

    Viva America!

    May 26, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  15. Roger from CA

    Wow. Now that Limbaugh has spoken out, how much do you want to bet that Steele will be backpedalling within 24 hours?.....

    May 26, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  16. dreamer

    You forget to check with the party leader on that one Steel?I Believe he is saying somthing differnt.

    May 26, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  17. Alan

    ah, yes . . . the Clarence Thomas effect . . .

    May 26, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  18. Dan, TX

    I'm sure Steele will come around to Rush Limbaugh's point of view. LOL.

    May 26, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  19. everthing old is newt again

    "I think our party right now will avoid the partisan knee-jerk judgements that typically come with these things," Steele said.

    flying in the face of 50 years of gop history.

    May 26, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  20. James M. Holmes

    Too late Steele... the racists in the GOP have already pretty much exposed their feelings today... Looks like Limbaugh, Huckabee and Romney didn't get your memo today! LOL...

    May 26, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  21. Independant Voter

    I didn't know that the GOP was in danger of being perceived as a bully.

    May 26, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  22. wlou437

    The Republicans don't have the votes to stop the confirmation and shouldn’t waste a lot of money running ads against her.. What they need to do is have some very pointed questions to be asked during the confirmation process to point out what they see as weaknesses. Save the money for a battle they can win.

    May 26, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  23. Greg

    Limbaugh has a serious problem with diversity. No way he would accept Sonia Sotomayor. It's laughable that Limbauhgh is calling another person "racist". Wow!!! surely, sonia can't be as bad as Limbaugh. Hispanics need to pay attention to what the republicans have to say about their candidate. They can respond with their votes...I hope they do in the coming elections. Her comments were clear. She was absolutely right.

    May 26, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  24. Lisa in Shelton CT

    how many times can different jerky Republicans be quoted saying "knee-jerk" today? Was it approved wording on the list of talking points in response to the practically done-deal nomination?

    May 26, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  25. LYNETTE IN CA

    Will he reverse his stance tomorrow because of what Limbo stated? Stay tuned.

    May 26, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
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