June 2nd, 2009
08:15 PM ET
5 years ago

Sotomayor to Feinstein: Latina remark 'poor choice of words'

Sotomayor made the rounds on Capitol Hill Tuesday.
Sotomayor made the rounds on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

(CNN) – Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor told Sen. Dianne Feinstein Tuesday her controversial Latina remarks were a "poor choice of words," the California Democrat said.

“She said, 'Obviously it was a poor choice of words if you read on and read the rest of my speech you wouldn’t be concerned with it but it was a poor choice of words,'" Feinstein told reporters.

Feinstein, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, added that she and Sotomayor "generally" discussed the issue of abortion, and that the judge believes strongly in legal precedent.

"I believe she has a real respect for precedent and ... if that is really true then I will agree with her and I believe it is," the senator said.

– CNN's Ted Barrett contributed to this report

soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Gracie

    WHY is this even an issue. Has anyone ever misspoke before? Jesus, this is sooooooooooooooooooo STUPID. Everyone is acting like they've never done the VERY same thing.

    GROW UP PEOPLE and LET'S MOVE ON...

    June 2, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  2. Joe Terrogano

    I just want to pointout that every time he opens his mouth, old Rush uses "a poor choice of words". So if we are going to parse this stuff, let's also focus on Tubby.

    June 2, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  3. Is it racist?

    I don't think so, and certainly the GOP should give it a rest unless they are going to grow a spine and stand up to Rush and the other Hitler youth like O'Rielly, Hannity, Couture

    June 2, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  4. bsmith171

    feinsten was a 'poor choice' to replace harvey milk.
    how many boxes of hair color does this 75 year old woman use in a week?

    June 2, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  5. skyhawkdriver

    Isn't it comforting to know that two socialists can get together over afternoon tea and agree on so much..unlike chris matthews I don't get a tingle running down my leg..you would think that the good senator feinstein would be more worried about her home state of california sinking in to the abyss of bankruptcy instead of hanging around washington and schmoozing with the beautiful people..of course she could always bum a free flight back home with the star kist queen pelosi

    June 2, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  6. mh

    A poor choice of words from a poor choice for justice!

    June 2, 2009 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  7. Steve (the real one)

    How long ago did she say this? Wasn't it a poor choice of words back then?

    June 2, 2009 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  8. RealityKing

    Poor choice of words or Freudian slip??

    Obviously we'll find out after her nomination is done being rammed down America's throat.

    June 2, 2009 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  9. No To Obama

    White Americans KNOW that you are a racist.

    June 2, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  10. Sawber

    Poor choice of words?

    Does she think that it is any better that a judge makes a poor choice of words in a speech that is written/prepared well ahead of time?

    Remember, her comments were not off the cuff or in answering a question.

    Is she going to be as careless in authoring judgements on cases?

    June 2, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  11. Laurens R. Hunt

    I appreciate the apology by US Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor, but honestly I question that it is necessary. Hispanics and Latinas/ os often have had different exposure than that of whites. As a male feminist I understand where she is coming from. If Ms. Sotomayor used the same words repeatedly then that maybe sufficient causation to question her judgment. However this comment had been made only once 10 years ago. During middle February US Attorney General Eric Holder referred to America as a "Nation of Cowards" regarding race relations. Again they would not likely have been my choice of words, but sometimes provocative statements need to be said in order to motivate community involvement. I often feel the same way as a person with a disability.

    June 2, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  12. Willy Brown

    She had her 15 minutes of fame. She's still a flaming liberal.

    June 2, 2009 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  13. New Yorker

    "poor choice of words" and poor judgment. The woman said what she believes and is not qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. I read the rest of the speech and it only confirms that she is the wrong choice.

    June 2, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  14. munchmom

    Ya think–duh! If someone that Bush had nominated had said something like that, they would have already been drawn and quartered!! But we know that anyone that has any contact with Obama is untouchable. God help us all.

    June 2, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  15. David Longstreth

    So, how do you rephrase it to improve it? She meant what she said when she said it. So, does she have any decisions that reveal she makes decision based on race? Unfortunately, yes.

    Justice should be blind to race. It should treat us all as equals. The more out of line rulings are made with that proposition, the more confusion will begin to prevail.

    June 2, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  16. MBS

    I've read the whole speech, and anyone who says the quoted comment was taken out of context is either lying or hasn't read the speech. The quoted comment is very much in line with the rest of the speech. It's ridiculous to say it was a poor choice of words, it was a speech she wrote and obviously put a lot of thought into, and she subsquently published it in a law journal, word for word. So are we to believe that she is so careless regarding her published writings that she uses a "poor choice of words"? I'd have a lot more respect for her if she would just own her comment, and perhaps it would start a debate on whether we want a Supreme Court that is color-blind, or one that is ruled by empathy for certain minorities. The position of the administration and Ms. Sotomayor is clearly the "empathetic" one, and the country deserves a chance to debate which direction we should go.

    June 2, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  17. I Am The Great And Powerful Rush Of Oz

    Obama clearly picked a moderate. Next time, he should go for a true progressive, especially if one of the four right wing justices retires.

    June 2, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  18. Unhappy Dem

    Both of these two need to crawl back under the rock they slimed out from.

    June 2, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  19. Terry

    As a college lecturer, I was speaking 12 or 15 hours a week. Occasionally, I made a joke which sounded incredibly clever to my mind but was in poor taste when it came out of my mouth. Once, one of my students said that I made a remark that was critical of women, which was certainly not my intention. (I gave her a few minutes of class time to explain why she thought the remark was sexist. It led to a very good class discussion.)

    If you say 10,000 sentences, one or two of them are going to be very badly phrased. I know that. We all know that.

    Conservative leaders are like Bart Simpson, chanting "The principal said 'butt.' The principal said 'butt.'" They are just saying, "Sotomayor is a racist. Sotomayor is a racist."

    You Conservatives who voted for the "Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight" should be ashamed.

    June 2, 2009 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  20. Mark

    She is supposed to sit on the highest court in our country and why is she qualified again? Oh ya thats right...... never mind what she said

    June 2, 2009 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  21. corydavenport

    How is it a "poor choice of words" when she wrote out a speech, went over the wording of it numerous times, delivered it, and then published it? What she said was both intentional as well as racist and sexist. All the spinning in the world by her, the Democrats, and the media can't change the facts.

    June 2, 2009 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  22. Democrat Awakens

    Poor choice of words? Poor choice for judge. After reading her three of five rulings that were overturned by the Supreme Court, it's clear that she has a poor grasp on the Constitution. I could care less about her heritage or background. But her thought that the 2nd Amendment does not apply to states, is completely ludicrous. Not only should she not be on the Supreme Court, she shouldn't be a judge.

    June 2, 2009 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  23. Chad

    This is not a poor choice of words!!!! This is exactly how she thinks and feels!!!!

    June 2, 2009 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  24. Chris

    Let's face facts folks, everytime we do anything for anyone of our own race it could be construed as a racist act IF you go along with all of this talk about racism. I prefer to believe that EVERYONE has a natural alliance with people of their own race. It's as natural an act as birds of a kind flocking together. You don't see geese hanging around waiting on humming birds do you? You don't see Eagles nesting with Buzzards do you? Ok, this lady is as human as -- well, as I am. She loves people of her race enough to try and help them while I love the people of my race enough to try and help them. We don't all act alike because we're not all alike, but one thing I've noticed that we all do -- favor our own.

    June 2, 2009 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  25. me

    Yes, this is true. It puts down the other people, races. Law is not about races, it is about the right, the law, the truth, the objectivity to people, case. Anyone who has statements as such is dividing, separating people . No one likes it. I do not like if my race is being put on pedestal, or has privileges, or if other race does the same. We are all equal. Only difference is the level of humanity, understanding, caring in each of us.

    How can someone in high position -especially law, where all the words matter so much – make poor choice of words? It is what one thinks what brings the words out. I guess she is enormously proud of being Latina, which is fine, but does not make her higher than other people.

    June 2, 2009 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
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