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

Former President GHW Bush stands up for Sotomayor

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/12/art.ghwbush.gi.jpg caption="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. Tyler Derden

    Frank you are right on. Bush 1 is a respectable man of honor. Since then, the GOP has slowly buried itself...

    June 13, 2009 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  2. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    What is "racist" about a white male and a Latina woman?

    Both are Caucasian! So it can't be racist!

    Sexist, but not racist.

    June 13, 2009 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  3. Bake

    If this isn't proof to you koolaid drinking Obama followers that Obama is nothing more than a Neo-Con in Liberal's clothing, I don't know what is. Dem = Rep... Bush = Obama

    June 13, 2009 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  4. Tom

    Reagan, Bush sen., Clinton, ... back then, it seemed no matter whether the president is a democrat or a republican, the US is in good hands. How did it happen in only 8 years that all the trust both parties have accumulated over the decades has evaporated, soured, and become so venomous ?

    I think Bin Laden has won, as far as party politics is concerned. This is how a small group of terrorists can destroy a proud nation: It sows the seed of distrust, and lets that nation decay from the inside.

    June 13, 2009 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  5. Chickenfoot

    How much did his parachute ride cost the U.S. taxpayers today????

    Use of a government plane, fuel, wear and tear on the plane...The fancy uniform...What gives him this right.....???

    Tied to an Army Golden Knights, parachute member....Who could have been hurt in this photo op...A Typical BUSH, GIMME-GIMME......

    Is he going to reimburse the tax payers for another one of his phoro op rip off's?? How much more do we owe this guy????

    ALL FOR WHAT?????

    June 13, 2009 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  6. Lora B.

    Hey ABMiller:
    Let us take a look at all the former presidents:

    George H.W. Bush hasn't done much since he left office except write a book and jump out of airplanes – perhaps he feels some guilt for the burning airplane he jumped out of during WWII. George W. Bush is back in Texas writing a book. Jimmy Carter has been building houses for the poor and fighting for peace in the middle east. Bill Clinton has been running the Clinton Foundation, a philanthropic organization which seeks to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing issues. That being said, although I agree with the elder Bush about Sotomayor, I have very little respect for republicans who think only of themselves by cutting taxes for the rich and making the little guy pay. That's self-serving in my book and it shows in what they c hoose to do with their lives once they leave office.

    June 13, 2009 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  7. independent Jim

    The rabid radicals of each side, which includes many of the name-calling bloggers here, really dislike logical debate on the merits of any issue. They believe that name-calling somehow demonstrates superior reasoning and that "shouting down" the opposition substitutes for logical thought. Unfortunately, as Allen in message 88 says, vitiolic name-calling occurs from both sides of the aisle, and voices of reason get lost in the clamor.

    June 13, 2009 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  8. Rob

    There's one smart Bush in the bunch.

    June 13, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  9. xavier

    The man is a class act, too bad none of his grace and common sence can be found in his son W.

    June 13, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  10. Brian

    George HW Bush is among the great patricians of the Republican party. Others would do well to follow his lead. A great man.

    June 13, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  11. MLH

    Classy guy. It is possible to disagree without name calling and hysteria.

    June 13, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  12. G in BR

    To Colin on June 12th, 2009 5:32 pm ET

    First, realize that most of the "majority" could care less about the life, path, desires, experiences, or emotions of any minority. You have to deal with that thought before you try to rationalize your line of thinking. But on the other hand to make it in this world, the minorities HAVE to learn your experiences just so you will accept our presence around you. If you really stop to think about it, if something does not affect whites, they could care less about it.

    For instance, if a TV show has an entire cast of blacks, latinos, asians, etc., most whites (not all) will not bother to watch because you feel it does not reflect anything you are involved in. On the other hand, minorities have been watching all white cast on TV since the invention of TV. So yes, our experiences or different and more diverse because we not only study or own life experiences we also have to know yours and be able to discuss it with you so that you will feel that we are relevant!!!! Think about it!!!!!!!

    June 13, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  13. Riley

    Ok, all you double standard liberal/progressive. It is ok for a liberal to say racist things more then once during their life but let a conservative say anything true about racism and they are called rasist. Her is the truth about what the Judge is she is a sexist and a races and her own record supports it, including the ruling against the fireman. This is typical of the problem with you on the left when the facts and the truth do not support your destructive ideas of the world you try and destroy the person instead of discussing the facts. Remember the old saying if the shoe fits ware it and in the case of the Judge she is a sexist and a racist.
    And for those who attacked both Rush and Bill O. you obviously do not listen or watch their shows. I suggest that you do that before you attack them personnelly. In fact I challenge all liberals and progressive listen to Rush and Bill O. for a month and you begin if you have half a brain to understand just how wrong your ideas really are about the world and where you want it to go.

    June 13, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  14. Dawn in Pa

    Bush 41 did give her an appointment in the District Court, Clinton apponted her to the 2nd court of appeal... she was confirmed both times... Laura Bush also thinks she is the right chose for the SCOTUS.

    Remember many Judges have said things that could have made them look like they are racist... In this Country of nothing but, get over yourselves seriously.

    The far right wants Roe V, Wade overturned. I think maybe it should be revised, but never overturned. I remember before Roe V. Wade, women were going to backstreet abotionist and they could die or may never have anymore children. More and more could and would fly into Canada to get one... This is the one law, besides gun control that the far right is complaining about and think that it should not be reformed either. So should Felons have guns?

    I really think that there is more to being a Jurist then trying to appease the far right... We are all Americans, land of the Free and Home of the Pruds... That is what most Countries sees us...

    Thanks... Have a nice weekend....

    June 13, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  15. Georgia

    Bush 41 deserves a lot of Respect! Unlike his son. His son undid just about everything his father did and stood for!

    June 13, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  16. I laugh at Limbaugh daily.

    At least one Bushie has guts.

    June 13, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  17. Buddy Gilmour

    Nice man, fair politician, not much of a President.

    June 13, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  18. Jerry

    Let the Judge have her say and only then let the Senate make their decision.

    June 13, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  19. Zoom

    To Marcus Tate: "Didn't he fall down the steps of Air Force One?" No. Ford did that. "Didn't he throw up on the Japanese president." Sort of. It was the prime minister of Japan. They don't have a president. Geesh. A forum of intellectuals here.

    Give HW the credit he deserves. He was only a conservative when he tried to be Reagan and get votes. Before 1988 and after 1993, he was a New England moderate Republican and definitely a classy person. Before you mock someone, at least know what you are talking about.

    June 13, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  20. Gary

    Great inspiration. Just because you are old doesn't mean you can't do things. I'll need to remember that when I'm 80 and there is no social security left and I'm still working.

    June 13, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  21. Gary

    I put up 2 comments (one yesterday and one today) and yet they did not get posted? They were not mean spirited or offensive. I can't figure out how I see some awful comments posted on the CNN site and then mine don't get posted. How do you decide. Clearly I notice that comments I make that are a bit conservative or Pro-republican get posted less than comments that I make that are a bit liberal or Pro-Democrat but in this case my comments were kind of neutral. I just don't understand what agenda CNN is trying to push at times.

    June 13, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  22. Zoom

    Ugh! to Marcus Tate again....Dan Quayle made the Sept. 7/Pearl Harbor comment. Your argument that he was not a great president because he won only one term has validity. He did raise taxes and he paid for it with a loss. Of course, if you know your history (and I am suspect about that), he lost the election because a republican businessman challenged him as an independent, gaining 17% of the vote. Bill Clinton did not receive a majority of the votes and it is doubtful that Perot's votes would have gone to Clinton, at least the majority of them. Was he a tax the poor republican? Maybe. That might make him a bad president. He certainly wasn't true to his own beliefs (like McCain) and got in bed with the conservative right, but your comments show such ignorance, not just in facts, but in a refusal to see good in someone who does have good qualities. And, it diminishes the impact of those remarks which are valid and insightful.

    June 13, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
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