June 13th, 2009
09:14 AM ET
5 years ago

Former President GHW Bush stands up for Sotomayor

Former President George H.W. Bush stood up for his former judicial nominee Sonia Sotomayor Friday.
Former President George H.W. Bush stood up for his former judicial nominee Sonia Sotomayor Friday.

(CNN)–Former President George H.W. Bush stood up for his former judicial nominee Sonia Sotomayor Friday, telling HLN Anchor Robin Meade that GOP critics who called President Obama's Supreme Court pick a racist were off-base, and unfair.

"I don't know her that well but I think she's had a distinguished record on the bench and she should be entitled to fair hearings. Not – [it's] like the senator John Cornyn said it," he told CNN. "He may vote for it, he may not. But he's been backing away from these...backing off from those radical statements to describe her, to attribute things to her that may or may not be true.

"And she was called by somebody a racist once. That's not right. I mean that's not fair. It doesn't help the process. You're out there name-calling. So let them decide who they want to vote for and get on with it."

High-profile Republican voices like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh had both accused the judge of racism for her past comment that a "wise Latina" might make more informed judicial decisions than a white male. Gingrich later backed away from that assessment.

Cornyn had urged Republicans to avoid labeling Sotomayor a racist, calling that brand of criticism unhelpful to the process.

Related: President Bush weighs in this afternoon on his legacy — and why he won’t be writing a tell-all


Filed under: Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (248 Responses)
  1. BLESSEDNTX

    I think that he is attempting to save the Repuglicans from themselves.

    I'd prefer that that continue call Judge Sotomayor a 'racist' and then Texas can go "BLUE" in the next election.

    June 12, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  2. Jasmine in Germany

    For those too opinionated or too young to know, GHW Bush was a good President. I'm happy to see that he is still in relatively good shape, considering his age. God bless him.

    June 12, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  3. David

    George HW Bush is absolutely correct on this one. His opinion counts not only as a former POTUS, but he picked Sotomayer as a judicial nominee as POTUS so he has specific knowledge of her. Kudos to GHWB for speaking up in support.

    One more thought: GHWB had an exit strategy for the Gulf War so we didn't lose thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars.

    June 12, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  4. Bored

    Grammarian, I'm only interested in whether or not she believes in the superiority of a gender, a race or a culture, not just the "bad comment." If she doesn't, and her judicial record shows no rulings based on such a belief, then there is no "there" there to the racist claims.

    Also, a Republican Senator pretty much clarified how qualified she is when he lamely said the GOP needed more time to vet her because "she had 10 times as many decisions to review as Justice Roberts..."

    June 12, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  5. War_boi

    When this war is over, and I finally get home, I am taking up the arduous task of bringing down Rush Limp-biscuit. Herr Limbaugh is in for it now. Well I still have a long time before I get to see my family so Rush is safe for now. I am kind of side tracked at the moment. I will devote my entire being to resurrecting the dying GOP... or wait... maybe... yeah, I will become a D–E–MM–O–CC-R-A-T–E...THERE I said it. Not so bad once you get past the gag reflex. I am now a Democrat. Yea for me. :)

    June 12, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  6. Drooling Liberal

    As a slobbering liberal, i used to hate GHB b/c he was a republican and I have no brain. But now that he is defending a racist SCOTUS nominee, I LOVE HIM!!!

    Somebody get this liberal a bib!!!!!

    June 12, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  7. War_boi

    Now that I am a Democrat, let's see... Hmmm...I predict that TEXAS will go blue and Sara Palin will run in 2012 (one more catastrophe for that year) and she will screw her party (this time not literally) by, ya' betcha'... fighting for the Republican nomination and destroying not only her chance but that of any republican... ever of wining anything outside of a chance on the 2nd term O's cabinate. He'll through them a bone. Go Texas... wow I like being on the winning teams side. ;)

    June 12, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  8. scott

    this was a good president .......his son did not do him justice. i along with many moderate republicans voted bush 2000 based on unity not division......biggest mistake of my life. this man tore the country apart.
    a little advice to my republican friends ....stop carting newt ,limbaugh ,hannity ,coulter ,palin and other radicals out as the voice of the party .....they are toxic .the GOP HAS BEEN HIJACKED but only time will heal this sore . the sad part is there are good republicans who have ideas ( ryan , coker ) but hey get muzzled by loud mouth zealots like cantor ,boner and the flock i mentioned . i stand by my president who is working through this mine field.
    remember we are all americans first , lets not wait for a crisis to act like it.

    June 12, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  9. TheFabOne

    It's about time you said something substantive. Too bad you had to be 16 years out of the White House to do it.

    June 12, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  10. scott

    actions of this judge speak louder then words. she has gone out of her way to protect free speech ....she is not an activist judge .
    sad part is some gop members confirmed her twice.......so now that the president appointed her she is a activist judge ?
    i wish the republicans would stop acting like the 70 % of the country was drinking coolaid ......they need to look in the mirror and hear themselves speak .....scary .

    June 12, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  11. Zero.

    Sorta Strange.

    June 12, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. JB

    JC Walters,

    The Democrats are at least as uncivil as the Republicans; don't think so? Listen to what they have to say about GHWB; sure, they disagree with his policies, but so many of their attacks are just personal, and truly vicious and ugly.

    I'm not saying that some on the other side didn't make attacks against Obama on that basis – there were some vicious personal attacks on him, to be sure.

    However, Obama's policies are really are pretty far to the left, and he does have very strong socialist leanings. It is his policies that I oppose, but I'm sure he and Mrs. Obama are very personable and would be fun people to hang around with. I thought that about Bill Clinton, too, although I didn't support his policies, either. I'm not so sure how much fun the Bushes would be to hang around with.

    So, anyone on the left who wants to complain about conservative attacks on Obama had better get his own house in order first. The most vicious attacks on anyone I've heard in my nearly 50 years of life are the ones on Bush 43 by the left. What conservatives said about Obama is best Sunday School behavior compared to what wingnut leftists said – and still say – about Bush 43.

    June 12, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  13. War_boi

    "Young and free something you'll never be..." Oh Jasmin, mustn't brag now just 'cause your old enough to be GHW's mother. Not all of us sleep in coffins. I see your memory has gone with age and as the years set in so has the cold war era TV ads that festered in the hollows recesses of what passes as your gullible little mind. That tends to happen to right wing idiots that are left exposed for to long to the unreality of NeoCon-utopia... Google it. No perhaps thou shouldn't. "Childhood at it's lunacy"

    June 12, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  14. War_boi

    I thank the American People for all they do as they weather the storm back home. God bless you all. Peace. Good night...

    June 12, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  15. HJA

    I am a Democrat now but I liked GHWB. He was OK in my book. I respect his comments.

    June 12, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  16. Flores de la Hoz

    Murdoch and Limbaugh have critically wounded the GOP.

    All that the Bush family has done for 20 plus years to bring Hispanic Americans into the GOP has been undermined by hate mongers who in the process have destroyed the GOP chances in 2010.

    June 12, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  17. Steve J, Michigan

    What names are the right-wingers going to call Pres. Bush now for sticking up for Sotomayor.. I"m sure Rush, Newt, etc.. will have some lame comeback...

    Steve-Mich

    June 12, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  18. Marcus Tate

    Racism is racism, no matter how you slice it. Sotomayor was chosen 1) First because she is a woman and 2) second because she is hispanic.

    Obama and his people made up their minds form day one that they were going to pick a woman, and it would be great if she was hispanic. They chose Sotomayor on this basis alone, and not based on merit or job qualifications. If they had chosen a white guy only because he was a male and white, there would be screams of outrage. But this "reverse racism" is OK??

    Her statements are racist, she reflects a racist attitude towards white people, and she has been overturned by the Supreme Court on multiple occasions – so how can you say she is qualified or knows the job? I do not like this candidate. I Hope they do not give her the job.

    June 12, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  19. JonDie

    But we all know that George W. Bush wouldn't even been in the Republican Party if it were up to Rush Lipblame, Dicky Chainy and Moot Fydrich (sorry Mark, but I know you're up in heaven laughing).

    June 12, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  20. Marcus Tate

    OH – and if Geoirge Bush was such a great president, why was he a one-term president who was not re-elected? Because he put a tax on social security, than at almost the same time, also signed in one of the largest capital gains tax cuts in US history. This was the guy who also made the September 7th "A day that will live in infamy" comment. The apple doesn't fall from the tree – he was a twit like his son, he just didn't screw up as bad. Bush was NOT a good president as far as I am concerned. He was another "rob from the poor, give to the rich" Republican.

    June 12, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  21. Mike

    There are a few classy repubs left: Lugar, Hagel, Powell, McCain, and HW.

    June 12, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  22. Marcus Tate

    OH – and if George Bush was such a great president, why was he a one-term president who was not re-elected? Because he put a tax on social security, and then at almost the same time, also signed in one of the largest capital gains tax cuts in US history. This was also the guy who made the "September 7th: A day that will live in infamy" comment. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Bush was NOT a good president as far as I am concerned. He was just another "rob from the poor, give to the rich" Republican.

    June 12, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  23. Joyce Becker

    I have to agree with George H W Bush on this point, he has more sense in this matter than the rest of the Republicans, they should listen to him for a change instead of Rush.

    June 12, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  24. Marcus Tate

    OH – and if George Bush was such a great president, why was he a one-term president who was not re-elected? Because he put a tax on social security, and then at almost the same time, also signed in one of the largest capital gains tax cuts in US history. On top of that, he was the one who originally started the Iraq war. And when he pulled our troops out, alot of people there died for trusting and helping the US. And in case you forgot, this was also the guy who made the "September 7th: A day that will live in infamy" comment. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

    Bush was NOT a good president as far as I am concerned. He was just another "rob from the poor, give to the rich" Republican. Some people just have selective memory.

    June 12, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  25. Marcus Tate

    ...And if I'm not mistaken, didn't he also fall down the steps of Air Force one and throw up on the Japanese president?

    June 12, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
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