WASHINGTON (CNN) - In a roundtable with radio reporters Friday, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell wondered if Sonia Sotomayor's backpedaling on her now famous statement about a "wise Latina woman" possibly coming to better decisions than a white male was genuine.
"If it was a bad choice of words, it was a bad choice of words repeatedly [offered].... leading one to believe that it probably wasn't just anisolated statement, but a core belief," McConnell said. Past comments by Sotomayor regarding ethnicity are being circulated by her supporters to show that Republicans didn't raise objections when she was nominated as a federal judge and then for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
The GOP backs off some of its criticism of Sotomayor
On whether the judge's supporters would have to get 60 votes to move her nomination to the floor, McConnell did rule out a filibuster.
"The argument over whether judges should be filibustered was ended" when Democrats blocked President Bush's nomination of Miguel Estrada to an appeals court repeatedly, to the point where Estrada gave up and had his name withdrawn.
McConnell said he arged against that then. "I still think it's a bad idea; and I'm not in any way suggesting it's going to happen this time." But he called a filibuster option a "precendent that's been firmly established by the now-majority."
The GOP may not have the votes to sustain a filibuster - but could try to put up a roadblock. McConnell emphasized there will be plenty of time to read over Sotomayor's other writings and opinions before the Supreme Court reconvenes in October. But the vote on her nomination may not come before the August recess, as President Obama has said he would prefer.