June 7th, 2009
10:38 AM ET
11 years ago

Obama aide: Criticism of Sotomayor 'kind of a sideshow'

WASHINGTON (CNN) –- A senior adviser to President Obama said Sunday that criticism of Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” comment was a diversion that distracted attention away from her lengthy judicial record.

“I think this is kind of a sideshow,” Obama adviser David Axelrod said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

“The point she was making is that we’re all the sum total of our experiences and you bring those experiences with you to the bench,” Axelrod also said in the interview. “It’s the same point that Justice Ginsburg and Justice Alito have made and I think that the debate is kind of a diversion from her 17-year record as judge.”

When attention is focused on Judge Sotomayor’s record Axelrod, one of the president’s closest advisers, said that Obama’s Supreme Court pick showed herself to be a fair, even-handed jurist.

“The fact is that there is nothing in her record that reflects anything but fairness and fidelity to the law and I think that’s what we want in a U.S. Supreme Court justice,” Axelrod told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.

Axelrod also said Sunday that Senate Republicans should not filibuster Sotomayor’s nomination, even though Democrats in the Senate have mounted filibusters against Republican judicial nominees in recent years.

“That would be a shame,” Axelrod said about the prospect of a filibuster against Sotomayor. “They ought to confirm her,” the Obama aide added.

soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Bryan

    Her ruling to uphold the decision to throw out the test scores of 19 white male firefighters, who would have been up for promotion then, was sure fair. I GUARANTEE if it would have been the opposite way, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson would be picketing the streets and crying racism. How was her decision fair is all I want to know??

    June 7, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. elana

    The Republicans are the "best side show" ANY circus could have! Wouldn't it be nice to send Rush Limbaugh, Michael Steele, Dick Cheney, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Sara Palin and others on a circus trip to some desert island far, far away! They could perform for each other!! I certainly wouldn't miss ANY of them!!

    June 7, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  3. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    Everything she says, all of her rulings, all of her writings must be gone over carefully. This is a very important nomination and so all questions must be answered fully.And truthfully

    Why hasn't asked her directly about her views on abortion, the amendments, especially the 2nd amendment, gun control and workers rights, etc. This is a very anti gun and second amendment administration, and this affects everyone. Destroy that, and then what's next?

    A "compelling life story" is not enough. It's great, but not enough to assure her the job. Lots of people have compelling life stories too, but are not in consideration for the supremes.

    June 7, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  4. Jeff

    Too many fools here are toeing their respective lines. I belong to neither party, as I consider political parties to be counterproductive to a true democracy (though a necessary evil with our current setup). However, I am indeed a fan of Obama and I agree with 'most' of his policies. That being said, I do have serious concerns about this particular Supreme Court pick. I could not care one iota about some off-handed comment she made years ago–chalk it up to a slip of the tongue or an actual belief; whatever it was, it is not necessarily indicative of how someone would perform on-the-job. Her judicial record DOES matter, and several of her decisions are worrying. Notably the firefighter case.

    June 7, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. Steve

    Axelrod is right. It's one statement, ripped from context. A thorough examination of Sotomayor's rulings reveals an even-handed judge.

    And, indeed, sideshows are all the right has right now. They don't believe in context or complexity. And we see how well that kind of thinking did.

    June 7, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  6. Really!?

    A Sideshow like the Supreme Court will be when it "makes policy" through the beliefs and feelings of a "Latino women" rather than the constitution of the United States.

    June 7, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  7. Eileen

    He's right. It has become a side show. With clowns like Limbaugh, Gingrich and O' Reilly in the center ring. Believe me, their message is not appealing to the majority. Polling must have proved that out as many of the blowhards are softening their approach. Nice try...rally the base and offend the majority – that's a winning strategy for you.

    June 7, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. Phil

    No on Sotomayor.................we need an individual who will only support the Constitution.

    June 7, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  9. Simmy

    Censor me and someone will speak....The ceiling is cracking and they don't like it.....Go Justice SOTO....

    June 7, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. JDB

    The disgusting displays of bigotry didn't work against Obama in the run up to the election, and it won't work now. Most are smarter than that – but the vitriolic haters have to have something to froth about, and the likes of steele, limbaugh et al have to earn their paychecks. They wear their ignorance like badges of honor, while the rest of the country just shakes their heads in disgust.

    June 7, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
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