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. pedro213

    use tactics used on Justice Thomas LYNCH HER!!1

    May 26, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  2. Ed_Vet

    What are we thinking?

    Are we thinking?

    My "party" is so exclusive, i'm not invited!

    May 26, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  3. lovable liberal

    Intelligent comment from Steele, thus guaranteed to be ignored by the Republican Party...

    May 26, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  4. Buddy Gilmour

    Looks like Steele is getting smarter. He's thinking that if the GOP backs this pick they might someday before too long make some inroads with Hispanic voters. Whereas if they oppose her they push a major voting block deeper into the Democratic camp. But the fact is GOP opposition to a non-white choice who isn't rabid (cf. Justice Thomas) is a foregone conclusion!

    May 26, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  5. Peter (CA)

    Mr. Steele.....don't soft-step it because she is a Latina or a woman. Just give it a fair hearing. Is that too much to ask? If the Republicans have significant issues with the choice, it will come out in the hearings.

    And before the right wingers bray...yeah, Alito is an ideologue and Thomas is not Supreme Court material.

    May 26, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  6. Larson

    Keep talking Rush, keep talking. The more you spit out all that hatred, the more republicans the party looses. Democrats love you!

    May 26, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  7. Mike in NYC

    Of course, he's got no problem with her insulting White men, who apparently don't have "rich lives."

    White GOP-ers, is this really your party?

    May 26, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  8. Post always rejected by CNN

    And what was his pick to be head of the RNC. I hate to give what it was. Political posturing was one of them tho.

    May 26, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  9. suresh

    I think GOP is in a jam now. They do want to oppose the nomination as they oppose everything Obama proposes. However, by opposing this nomination, they have to kiss goodbye to latino votes that they desperstely need in the next election.

    May 26, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  10. DaBird

    If it looks like a pig, says racist comments like a pig, and MAKES law instead of applying law like a pig, then it must be a pig. Time to call a pig a pig. Remember all the lipstick on a pig comments from the liberal nuts?

    May 26, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  11. Cynthia - Arkansas

    What is this.. good cop, bad cop. All of the Republican hacks are out in full force today tearing into Sotomayer, yet he wants people to believe that it's not the Republican Party. Get real!

    May 26, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  12. Peter E

    The GOP is in a good position for SCOTUS selections. All the younger Justices (Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Roberts) are right-wingers, so Obama will only ever nominate to replace left-wingers, never actually gain any ground. The GOP cannot lose, no matter what the outcome of the battles are.

    May 26, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  13. JT

    Too late Steele, that train has already left the station. From the GOP's leader, Rush Limbaugh, all the way down to their regular Joe six-pack.

    The Republican party is the party of racism.

    May 26, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  14. proud army navy mom

    what sane person listens to Steele?

    May 26, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  15. The Party of NO is only “pro-life” so they will be able to kill the “babies” 18 years later as soldiers in an elective religious war.

    With the nomination of Sotomayor, how long will the repubs take to trot out the Taco Bell's chihuahua as the new face of the Party of No?

    May 26, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  16. Steele Wanna Be Like Barack

    They weren't careful about picking Michael Steele as chairman, so why does the GOPbrains have to be careful now? They don't, they can just continue to be their racist selves and the world will leave them shouting in the dust. Moving on...

    May 26, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  17. Chtei

    The fight is not worth it for the republicans, she will most likely be confirmed anyways. They can only hurt themselves here by alienated a huge population. Steele makes a logical conclusion.

    May 26, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  18. gl, Pittsburgh

    This black token is really a big joke. One day he is all over President and the next day he is agree with him until he get that call from Rush and he will be saying he was misquoted. HEY BLACK TOKEN YOU ARE NO OBAMA!

    May 26, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  19. Ex-RepublicanTX

    Yes Steele...Obama backed the GOP tail up against a wall. You cant say much here, because you will definately irritate your swing voters if you show any opposition to Sonia. If the GOP piss of the Hispanics they can forget about winning any election for decades. LOL...Tables turn now baby.

    May 26, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  20. gl, Pittsburgh

    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.

    Steele get ready for Rush to call you out on your comments and I be waiting for yu to apolozise to your boss Rush.

    May 26, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  21. p of v

    That's OK, Michael. No one in their right mind would ever confuse you with a bully...

    May 26, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  22. Zion

    Why? You know Steele, you are really killing me. It's okay to lynch Pres. Obama, but any other non-black we have to step carefully.

    May 26, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  23. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    best thing steele can do is admit he isn't a republican

    and move on over to the party of change
    his own self ego is what blinds him from seeing what the republicans are using him for

    and he can't come up with any thing better than abortion
    wooo what a joke ..

    May 26, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  24. sara

    Your party has been bullying for decades, Mr. Steele. Grow a spine and stop being a token. Don't let them use you like they did the Hispanics for votes only. Now you give them instructions so your party can continue to use them. You are a joke if you Think for a second that the American people, yes, American hispanics are Stupid!
    Brilliant pick, smart, strong woman. Now this will cover your grave, as it has already been dug.

    May 26, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  25. Jay Henry

    As a black man though, I wonder sometimes about Steele.We don't know much about Obama- He wasn't scrutinized enough because he was black. I know that you have to pander to the white part of the party but OH Lord, have some independent though for once. You do have a brain. Do not let the party use you.Ponder your words before uttering them.

    May 26, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
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