June 5th, 2009
05:36 PM ET
13 years ago

McConnell: Filibuster option was set as a precedent by the Dems

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/29/art.mcconnell1.gi.jpg caption=" McConnell emphasized there will be plenty of time to read over Sotomayor's other writings and opinions before the Supreme Court reconvenes in October."]

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Bush's nomination of Miguel Estrada to an appeals court repeatedly, to the point where Estrada gave up and had his name withdrawn.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.

Filed under: Mitch McConnell
soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. German,Irish American

    Expat in Canada- Sotomayor used those exact same "words taken out of context" in at least 3 different speeches over a 4 year period. As for Estrada just being a lawyer, you mean like Chief Justice Earl Warren, or Hugo Black? I am sure that the Democrat internal memos sent to then Senate Minority Whip Dick Durban, by liberal special interest groups' stating their desire to keep Estrada off the Circuit Court of Appeals because his Latino heritage made him "especially dangerous" as a Supreme Court nominee, had absolutely nothing to do with the Democrat fillibuster of Estrada. It was also the first and only time in history that a nominee for Circuit Court of Appeals has been fillibustered. And for Peter- Racism? How about the FACT that 95% of Blacks voted for Obama? If 95% of Whites had voted for McCain he would now be President. So, by your reasoning, you should be shouting, AMERICA PROVE TO THE WORLD THIS RUMOR IS JUST RUMOR, TELL OBAMA TO SHUT HIS MOUTH!

    June 5, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  2. Alfred E. Neumann

    This story goes to show that amongst the many values that Democrats share with Republicans, hypocracy is right there at the top of the list.

    Not a dimes worth of difference between them. Of course you'd have to water board them to get the folks to admit to it!

    June 5, 2009 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  3. Gymo

    The Republicans need to stop threatening/promising and do it, they need to filibuster Sotomayor and keep it going, while the Democrats should force them to have to stand in Congress and tell the millions of women and millions of Hispanics why they must not have power.

    A Republican fillibuster will make President Obama and the Democrats so sad that come 2010 election they will be forced to win the female and Hispanic votes.
    Right now in Hispanic communities they are wearing Obama tee-shirts, lets get them mad enough to vote.

    June 5, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  4. m smith

    Alas the wing nuts are at it again. Miss Sotomayor has a very impressive record which they have tried their darndest to tarnish. If they keep up this nonsense for president obamas entire term he will be re elected easily. Who can bare much more of their mean nasty comments .

    June 5, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  5. Eric From Texas

    How selective the current GOP membership is regarding anything that is blatantly partisan. Those of us who remember our history remember that it was Republicans who first filibustered a judicial nominee, Abe Fortas, in 1968. In addition, Republicans filibustered 10 of President Clinton's appointments to the appeals benches. The number of 10 filibuster also does not include the use of the "blue slip" hold that senators placed on a number of President Clinton's nominees. How much CRAP do we have to take from these people before the US public stands up and yells "Enough already!!"

    June 5, 2009 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  6. Every

    Sotomayor SAID “HOPE” "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." All the hopla over this judge's comments are shockinly ignorant! She is saying that, she aspires or is challenging herself to a higher standard based on her life experience, proud heritage and knowledge of law to be an extraordinary woman! She is acknowledging most of the justices over the last 100 years have been white males detached from societal experiences and without full understanding of how their decisions impact peoples lives! THERE WAS NO NEED FOR RECLARAFICATION BY THE PRESIDENT! BUT, BECAUSE OF REPUGLICAN HYSTERIA, SOUND BITE POLITICS, AND MALICIOUSNESS, BIAS, AND POLITICAL POSTURING, HE HAD NO CHOICE TO STEP INTO THE ARENA!

    June 5, 2009 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  7. Squigman

    Here's a perfect example of people in one party, holding their interest above the good of the nation or constitution. It matters not that the person being appointed to the position is qualified. What matters is who placed the person up for appointment, and what party they belong to. I can not believe the bickering from the defeated republican party. I hope there are more people as tired as I am, of hearing the same threats from a group of people who want to be in power, but no longer have the ability to hold power, because of the abuses they allowed. I'm sure there are, and I hope in the next election cycle more of them can be placed in the unemployment lines along with many of the people they helped displace.

    June 5, 2009 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  8. independent Jim

    When I heard the entire context of the original "Latina" speech, I realized she was saying that we all come to the table biased by our experiences and backgrounds. That is essentially what a trial judge tells any jury in one of the standard jury charges. The key is that both the judge and jury are sworn to follow the law despite their biases. I haven't heard anything so far that suggests Sotomayor will not follow the law if appointed to the Supreme Coirt. That the the central test that the Senate is required to use for confirmation. I don't believe that efforts to disqualify her for the "Latina" speeches will get any traction.

    June 6, 2009 04:11 am at 4:11 am |
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