May 31st, 2009
02:17 PM ET
13 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. gl, Pittsburgh

    Bottom line whtie people your time has come to an end and you whites need to get over yourself. Other races have a right to run this country as well. I am so sick of you whites talking about what she said is a racist statment and how many racist statement did blacks have to put up with from you whites. Whites don't like it when it is aim at them, but have been doing it to other races for years – now you know how is feels to be treated differently becasue of your race. Whites still will never know what it really feel like to really be discrimanated against becasue your race stil have more people running things in this country.

    May 31, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  2. James Pelegano

    It is extremely refreshing to finally see some true leadership and intelligence on the part of the Republican Party.

    We need their insight and their involvement in all aspects of government at all times. This is a two party system and to have one party constantly "knee jerk reacting" to issues does us all a disservice.

    When you hear that all 40 Republican Senators either "voted" the same way , or "reacted " the same way, you know that they are not thinking about the country's welfare, but their own. ( Although how this type of "lemming" response to issues helps them is beyond me.)

    Thank you Senator McConnell, ( You do need to be the "speech police" not by monitoring what others say, but by "raising the voice of reason higher than that of foolishness.)

    May 31, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  3. Why is this thread relevant?

    When will minorities as a whole stop clinging on to racism as an excuse for the state of things? President Obama must have let go of this a long time ago...look where he is! Once one stops making excuses, life becomes a whole lot better.

    May 31, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  4. David

    Mitch McConnell actually sounds reasonable here which is a good sign - I think they finally get it...

    Although Rush is clearly a fool, if the liberal left fringe of the Democratic party wants to demonize "old white men" then there is going to be a problem.

    I have zero guilt and never will. And frankly I do find her comments pretty offensive, and I don't think anyone on the court should belong to a ethnicity based advocacy organization.

    A house divided against itself cannot stand.

    May 31, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  5. Simmy

    Most of you who have a problem with Judge Sotomayor have the same problem with President Obama......You feel that they have come into your neighborhoods.....You suffer from the same issues that are plaquing the GOP.......It was fine while we (THE GOP) controlled everything.....Now it feels like we are no longer in control and we are afraid....That's why FEAR is such a successful tool of the GOP......

    It's a new day.....God is making the country the diverse nation it was meant to be.....Where ALL men are created EQUAL, and are endowed by their CREATOR with certain inalienable (un-transferrable) rights.....ALL have the RIGHT to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness........Get USed to it.....God bless our TROOPS.......America......Land of the free......Home of the brave.....Amen.
    Fear is a tool from hell......I reject it.....IJN....

    May 31, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  6. N Guin

    Judge Sotomayor, is just one more decision in a long line of no common sense, which seems to be the direction this country has been slowly moving over several decades. All of the negative situations going on right now are a result of no common sense decisions made by no common sense persons in leadership positions. When things get very bad for the citizens we can all look at the stupid decisions some have promoted. There is no such thing a a utopia.

    May 31, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  7. virginia for obama

    No Arron!!!! The Republicans have not waken up. . . .It's just what Wayne, Joe the carpenter, Truth15 and Kevin in Evansville, Indiana all said in their comments. ( please read them).

    May 31, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  8. Ted Tartaglia

    McConnell is just another loser Republican without the guts to oppose the Republican party leader Rush Gasbag. If McConnell wasn't such a wimp he would take a stand against those calling Ms. Sotomayor a racist.

    Also, where does McConnell get off saying he is trying to advance the nation's agenda. The voters rejected the party of NO so McConnell has no agenda to advance. I guess he is still in denial about Republicans losing the election. It's easy, Republicans lost! You have little power to do anything except to continue to obstruct as you have been doing for the past two years. What a bunch of wingnuts!

    May 31, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  9. Larry - Boston

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is 101% correct. This is America and we have the First Amendment to our Constitution – Free Speech – whatever CNN, Fox, Newt, Rush, Pelosi, Obama or anyone else cares to say about Satomayor, it is not up to Mitch to take to the airways to either defend or to criticize the statements.

    I happen to agree with Newt and Rush that Satomayor has racist tendencies – not just because of her 2001 comment about Latina women, but more recently her ruling on the New Haven CT firemen case, when she ruled against white firemen solely based on affirmative action beliefs she held and beliefs on race. The Supreme Court will ironically issue its ruling on this case BEFORE Satomayor's hearings commence. Look for the Supreme Court to rule against Satomayor and to hint racism in their decision. Satomayor has also said that gender and ethnic background should be considered in any ruling. This is racism, and it is AGAINST our Constitution which stands for no bias based on race or ethnicity. Satomayor is NOT rthe best qualified person for this position by a long shot, and on her on record, she is NOT qualified to sit on the Court based on her record or fulings, speeches, writings, and comments to the media.

    May 31, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  10. gl, Pittsburgh

    You are mischaracterizing Sotomayor's statement. She said that her background would allow her to make a better decision than a white person could more often than not. If she didn't realize that the way she framed her statement was ignorant, it speaks even more about her lack of qualification.

    That statment is very true. You whites can not walk in our shoes period.

    May 31, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  11. Bill

    The sad thing thanks to the last election we have six more years at looking at Senator McConnell say nothing!

    May 31, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  12. lynn

    First of all it seems to me that the republicans can't say anything about anyone being a racist since they seem to be top dog when it comes to that. What's worse is that they are following a person who acts like he is the Grand Wizard. Second, have you read the entire transcript of what she said. Third, didn't Alito make some kind of remark that was similar? I don't remember him catching this kind of hell. Fourth someone other than a white male can be qualified for higher positions in this country. Fifth Obama is trying to clean up this mess that was left and has done good for the country and coninues to try to do so. I can't imagine how hard it is to clean up eight years of bullsxxt. He's only been in there since January. Give him a break. It would be nice if he had some cooperation.

    May 31, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  13. Dky

    We all know that John King is a REPUBLICAN. I am one too but I have also begun to boycott his State of the Union; all of you need to do so. He gave my party all the voice to spur their hatred and negativity. I am tired of the Republicans behaving as true LOOSERS. Obama is doing a great job and we must give him props for that. He is right now as they all try to criticize him is bringing an economy back from the brinks of hell. He is a multi-tasker who has the ability to address a number of issues at the same time. We on both sides of the aisles should admire him for that. When our leaders done wrong we should be able to chastise them for it and when they have done the correct thing praise them for it. I am a Republican who understands that my party is very racist and unless they are willing to change they will never win another election. John King could push his agenda as much has he want it will never happen. The old white men philosophy is dead in this changing society. We are now all American.

    May 31, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  14. Independent

    What angers me the most is when Alito was being question, his wife started to cry cause of something said to her husband....and the media went on a rampage and put down the Senators for making her cry...My question is, WHERE IS THE MEDIA NOW???? Why are you sitting there and letting these IDIOTS beat up on this woman??? Why aren't you out raged that they are calling her these names??? Can you imagine what this is doing to her Mother??? I guess not, that is why you are sitting on your morals or whatever you want to call it...

    I AM WOMAN and you just heard me ROAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 31, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  15. NotALemming

    If she said the exact same comment, but was comparing a "wise latina woman" to a black man, she would be getting ripped apart right now. It is a racist comment. Period.

    If she said that particular statement in public, that's just a minor reflection about the things she says and feel in private....

    May 31, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  16. Ex-RepublicanTX

    Oh so he cant stand up to Boss sir do not have a backbone...typical Republican Old White Men...yes everyone can think better than you.

    May 31, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  17. Bud Burgoon-Clark

    The Republican Party is a party without honor. Nothing further need be said.

    May 31, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  18. virginia for obama

    You Go Simmy!!!!!!! That is also true. It's some real good and true comments on this blog about the GOP. I'm so glad that people of all races and color ( especially white people ) are realizing that this is the 21st century 2009 and not the 20th century the 1950's anymore. Together. . . we can do many things!. . . Apart . . . we can do nothing!

    God Bless You! And the Haters too.

    May 31, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  19. gl, Pittsburgh

    yoyolite May 31st, 2009 11:40 am ET

    People are forgetting the Constitution was written with whites in mind. The constitution did not apply to slaves. They had to write an ADMENDMENT to even consider slaves as humans. So PLEASSEE.

    That right the constitution was written by whites and for whites only.

    May 31, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  20. Pgh Cons

    Sotomayor is a racist. She has made racist statements in the past and her public and judicial actions further show that she is clearly a racist and is unable to separate that aspect of her life from her judicial rulings.

    She is therefore a judicial activist and unqualified to be a judge, let alone a SCJ.

    And what is this coming out about her being a member of La Raza (The Race) which is a racist activist group? If true she should have her nomination removed AND her current position revoked.

    May 31, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  21. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    And one of those "better things" is to block this racist hatemonger from being appointed tot he supreme court.

    May 31, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  22. dan

    @gl, Pittsburgh

    Biggotry is not reserved to white people. It just proves it by YOUR comments.

    I thought with President Oboma being elected, we could move forward. By by YOUR comments, we are just moving backward AGAIN. This time it's PEOPLE LIKE YOU that are causing it. Who gives a crap what color your skin is. Who gives a crap what your religion is. Who gives a crap what your gender is. And who gives a crap what your sexual orientation is.

    BUT YOU QUITE OBVIOUSLY DO. So G, your a racisit. And your also a throw back to what we are trying to leave behind. Shut up, go crawl back into your hate filled world of biggotry and hate.

    There are idiots of ever race, religion, and gendor. YOU QUITE OBVIOUSLY ARE ONE OF THOSE IDIOTS. No matter what your ethnic background is.

    May 31, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  23. elana

    I'm STILL waiting, for ANY Republican to "speak their own truth"! And I'll most likely be waiting forever! Out of FEAR, not one of them can honestly say what they really feel about ANY person or subject. To do so would cast real doubt on them as a politician, because Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and OTHERS, might just have a comment and like a turtle who most of the time keeps his head in his shell, the Republicans will do the very same thing!! They are ALL joined at the hip - the Republican Siameeeeeeeeeeese! The Republican Party is OVER!! The GOP is FINISHED!!

    May 31, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  24. 60's survivor

    hey "THEY" do the same with the Bible take a piece out of context and swear up and down "it's this way". the real truth hidden away because so many are too lazy to really find out the whole of something. do you still wonder why we are in the shape we are in? think for yourself. don't let people "paid" to talk tell you what is the truth!!

    May 31, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  25. dan

    @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.

    You just kill eht babies now... You and the rest of the Rights for choice. Let the babbies die, but don't kill the terrorists. Let the Killers(read manson you prick) live, but kill the babies.

    Your a hypocrit

    May 31, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
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