May 31st, 2009
02:17 PM ET
5 years ago

McConnell: Better things to do than play 'speech police'

(CNN) – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told CNN Sunday he disagrees with conservative commentators who have labeled Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a racist, but said he has better things to do than be "the speech police."

"Look. I've got a big job to do dealing with 40 Senate Republicans and trying to advance the nation's agenda, and better things to do than be the speech police over people who have their views about a very important appointment," McConnell told CNN's John King on State of The Union. "So I'm not going to get into policing everybody's speech."

The comments come two days after Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, publicly repudiated recent statements from conservative commentators Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich calling Obama's choice for the high court a "racist."

"I think it's terrible," Cornyn told NPR Thursday. "This is not the kind of tone any of us want to set when it comes to performing our constitutional responsibilities of advise and consent.”

McConnell told King Sunday the idea that Sotomayor is a racist - a notion largely based on her 2001 speech at Berkeley - is "certainly not my view."

"My view is we ought to take a look at this nominee's qualifications,” McConnell said. “I think her life story is absolutely impressive."

But the Senate Minority Leader added he would not rule out pushing for a filibuster against Sotomayor after a thorough investigation into her past rulings and statements.

"To predict [a filibuster] in the same week that the nominee is put forward is putting the cart before the horse," McConnell said. "We have no earthly idea whether that would be appropriate at some point in the process. We've got a lot of cases to read and a lot of background to check."


Filed under: Extra • Mitch McConnell • State of the Union
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. To Had it: This country is not majority white catholic men.

    I hope when we get all done finding one seat per minority on the supreme court, that the court gets business done

    the constitution does not say to allocate based on percentage of the population

    It will be interesting to see the course that the court goes with her on it, and the ambition to have more of this group or more of that group represented

    I am not against her appointment, but I am for finding the best quality justices... is she the best we can get?

    May 31, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  2. Joe the carpenter

    McConnell is just spewing 'reasonableness' because he realizes that the majority of the population are sick and tired of the standard republican attacks, he only 'talking' like this NOW. He is just trying to save his @ss, it is too bad the people of Kentucky who voted for him can't seem to see through his B.S..

    May 31, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  3. Kevin -- Evansville, Indiana

    It's the old good-cop-bad-cop routine. Have the extremist white-only segment of the party launch a race-based attack, then the other side of the party condemns it. It's all part of the same tent though. If they are serious, why don't they kick Limbaugh out? Are they afraid of losing the monetary support of Limbaugh's 20 million listeners? They shouldn't be so cowardly though ... most the people that listen to Limbaugh see him as a clown.

    May 31, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  4. yoyolite

    tTo "Liberals are Retarded" your comments are the reasons your party is becoming obsolete. At no time has Sotomayor said anything that other white men on the Supreme Court ,when selected have not said. AS for people in the media comparing her story and life to Clarence Thomas's. There is a definite difference. Carence Thomas is not considered a black man to most black American. He is what he last name denotes a "Tom." We do not consider him to be black as he himself does not consider himself a black man. RAce identity is a way of thinking, and living. If she is proud to be Latin female as I am sure you are very proud to be white, so be it. From a very proud BLACK women.

    May 31, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  5. John D

    If you take the position that Sotomayor's remark was not racist, then you must also agree that someone saying that a White male would make better decisions than a Latina because of his background is not racist either.

    The Democrats are as much racists as they were 50 years ago. They're doing the same thing as they did when they were the mainstay of the KKK. They're just doing it on behalf of minorities now. (just as long as they dodn't move into their neighborhoods.

    May 31, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  6. sparky

    @ Alberto

    "I'm an independent voter that has voted republican on all the elections."

    What, exactly, makes you think that you are an independent?

    May 31, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  7. Mike

    "However, I promised this to the Republican Party, I'll never vote Republican again and will raise my boys not to vote republican if they continue to use the "race card in order to tarnish Judge Sotomayor's reputation."

    Threatening to instill certain values in your children based on what a political party does is incredibly despicable. It really shows poor parenting skills. How about explain to your children what both of the parties stand for, and then let them make their own decision?

    Would you rather your boys make an educated decision when they become adults and vote for the party of their choice, or vote Democratic because "Dad told them to"?

    May 31, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  8. Michael

    The racist remarks have been coming from individuals that aren't "elected officials". Limbaugh has never ever managed anything more than a micrphone as is his testament on his multiple marriages, drug addiction, willfull attempts to subvert the laws on drugs. Newt, the"brute", is at his usual nasty retoric that moved him out of Congress, thank goodness. So, lets consider the sources and get on recovering this country.

    May 31, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  9. Ames Tiedeman, Austin, Texas

    Ah......The Sotomayor tragedy continues. Do you think Sotomayor has ever pondered the fact that if it were not for a WHITE MALE named James Madison (considered the father of the U.S. Constitution) and other WHITE MALES the U.S. Constitution would have never gotten written? These men were WISE and they were much WISER than any men of any race, anywhere in the world at the time. What were LATINA WOMEN doing when Madison and Co. were drafting the most important document ever written? Obviously they were not WISE enough to take note of the great WHITE way and create their own just and fair civilization. Sotomayor is an angry leftist minority with an ax to grind. Obama can rave all he wants about how wonderful her life experiences have been and how they will help to shape the Court. The bottom line is all of this is irrelevant. The job of a Supreme Court Justice is to follow a strict interpretation of the Constitution. That's it. Nothing more. Because Stotomayor is and angry minority woman who is anit-WHITE with an ax to grind she should be thrown from consideration without delay. America must, can, and will do better.

    May 31, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  10. Tim

    What Sotomayor said was racist, plane and simple. Everyone can try to defend her but her comment was ignorant. As an educated white male, I can more than gaurantee that I would come to the right decision every time when compared to an uneducated minority.

    If her comment isn't racist, then neither is mine. The difference is not only do I not believe my statement, I would never say it in public, at a place where I was asked to give a speech. She obviously thought long and hard about her statement and genuinely feels that her statement was correct.

    May 31, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  11. flybyshoeing

    Any time a judge overturns a decision, they are LEGISLATING from the bench and setting new precedent. Most of Congress are lawyers, they know this and yet deny it. Go figure

    May 31, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  12. DAVE

    brian said
    White people are afraid that somehow, somewhere, some brown person is getting away with something.
    ----------------------
    Ha moron
    Do you bring your kids up to see race only. alot of us RACISTS WHITES HAVENT!!!!!
    Why are you better than us now
    Viva La raza. What the h*ll is that
    Blatant racism.
    Wake the h*ll up
    abomination to be racist to the great people of color
    Funny its not the other way around
    Watch your step
    You are still the minoritys
    Dont screw up the gains
    It just may blow up in your faces

    May 31, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  13. Paul from Kissimmee

    Levis Valenzuela May 31st, 2009 10:59 am ET

    Wow!!! The white men are feeling being discriminated in America, hey at least the police are not letting the dogs loose on them or the fire fighters are not using water hoses, not yet anyway.

    Maybe that's because we don't have a tv strapped to our back that just came out of a store with a busted window, or just completed a drug deal in front of a cop. If your race would take responsibility for your own actions, quit stealing and dealing drugs just to blame it on the white man, then maybe you wouldn't have to worry about being chased by dogs released from a cop after a foot chase. But I'm sure it's just easier to blame us and cry foul. You people suck.

    May 31, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  14. Liberals Are the Best

    To "liberals are retarded"..you said..….." is way too difficult for a liberal to comprehend. I'm gonna go figure this out....One thing we liberals can comprehend is you Right Wing Loon Toons using the word "RETARD" to denigrate people...for those people who have special needs it just shows you Rethuglicans are a worthless piece of skin parading around as a human!!! Now go figure that one out!!!!

    May 31, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  15. katiec

    Maybe, just maybe the republicans are beginning to realize the American people are sick of their negativity, hypocrasy, obstruction
    and what they are representing.
    Maybe, just maybe the will begin to do what they were elected to
    do and that is represent our country and us.
    Maybe, just maybe they will put aside their party first mentallity,
    swiftboating tactics and become honorable men.

    May 31, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  16. Anonymous

    We live in a weird time of 24-hour-a-day gossip.
    Even the most important of issues are reduced to gossip and scandalous discussion. And, there are characters in the media world whose role it is to play the antagonist to everything...

    Thank goodness it looks like some folks in the Senate have the good sense to not listen to the characters on the radio.

    I mean, I love to watch the office. But, I'm pretty sure I won't be adopting Michael Scott's views on the world. He's just a very entertaining character to me.
    Looks like the Limbaugh listeners of the world are beginning to recognize his role as character-in-chief, and are less and less interested in standing with his scripted views. They're realizing these are the real views of real people. Just those of a character on an entertainment radio show.

    May 31, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  17. Tim

    Hey yoyolite, who died and made you the judge of what it means to be black? And by the way, Uncle Tom is a racist stereotype by definition. So keep believing that blacks should behave in a certain way, it's a good way to keep the racist rhetoric going.

    May 31, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  18. Peoples Voice

    Come on now. Don't start refuting Rush and his ilk. We like it when you guys act like losers. Makes it much easier for our side to win.

    May 31, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  19. obamarama

    good man, Mr McConnell.

    Your party still sucks though.

    May 31, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  20. yoyolite

    What is the world coming to when you have to be taught not to be a racist. Wow that was so white of you Jake.

    May 31, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  21. BeefMasterX

    The posts to this article prove American rascism comes in every color.

    May 31, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  22. Charlie in Maine

    It is time to stop pretending that putting big business first is "fair" and putting people first is "biased". The Constitution should come first every time. The first three words of the constitution are "We the People". This is as refreshing and wonderful an idea today as it was 233 years ago. When it was written it could have said "We the landholding white men of America" but it did not. The framers had it right. Every thing we do as a Nation to make "We the People" a reality advances not only our own Nation but the whole world. Making Sonia Sotomayor a Supreme Court Justice will advance this cause as does the election of the man who chose her.

    May 31, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  23. Tim

    I see that Obama said that Sotomayor will serve the nation with distinction. I think he meant to say that she will serve the nation with more distinction and better distinction that the white males on the court, and the other male on the court.

    May 31, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  24. Very Independant Voter

    We live in a weird time of 24-hour-a-day gossip.
    Even the most important of issues are reduced to gossip and scandalous discussion. And, there are characters in the media world whose role it is to play the antagonist to everything...

    Thank goodness it looks like some folks in the Senate have the good sense to not listen to the characters on the radio.

    I mean, I love to watch the office. But, I'm pretty sure I won't be adopting Michael Scott's views on the world. He's just a very entertaining character to me.
    Looks like the Limbaugh listeners of the world are beginning to recognize his role as character-in-chief, and are less and less interested in standing with his scripted views. They're realizing these are the real views of real people. Just those of a character on an entertainment radio show.

    May 31, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  25. gl, Pittsburgh

    Had It May 31st, 2009 10:30 am ET

    Clean house in 2010 – the old white men are through in this country. The 2-century rule of the old white men is over. The wealhy old white men protecting other wealthy old white men is over.

    Vote out the old white men. This is the 21st century, not the 17th.

    Amen to your comment.

    May 31, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
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