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. Back to Simple Life

    He's the only Bush that has any sense. Too bad the intelligence skipped his son and name sake.

    Happy Birthday HW – tho I do think he's a little up in years to be parachuting – then again, W is an awful embarrassment – maybe nothing left.

    June 12, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  2. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    Well, good for GHW Bush.....!

    June 12, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  3. Todd

    Well 41's opinion at least indicates that not all Republicans are cut from the same slime cloth as limbaugh, hannity, newt, coulter.....lower case letters are used for the just mentioned individuals, due to the lack of respect for such.

    June 12, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  4. Father like Son

    HW is still a murderer of the Panamanian people. No one I know cares about his opinion. If he wants to criticize those false-conservatives, then let him. We don't need their kind in this world.

    June 12, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  5. Tremayne Smith

    I agree with former President George H.W. Bush! He is standing against partisanism and he was right in doing so. In my opinion, the Republicans that have resorted to such pusilanemous tactics as name calling are doing so because they have no legitimate reasoning for her NOT to be appointed. Name calling is always a tell-tale sign that you've got nothing to go on.

    June 12, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. Steve (the real one)

    All of a sudden the left will now pretend to appreciate Bush 41 with flowery words when the words of yesterday were filled will hate and disgust! Just watch!

    June 12, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. ch

    Ugh – four horrible long years with this nasty man as President.

    Thanks God Bill Clinton put an end to it!

    June 12, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  8. CF

    Republicans are only against her because Obama nominated her, and the marching orders for the GOP are to automatically dismiss and protest anything Obama or other Democrats do, without a thought.

    June 12, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  9. DeborahKansas City

    A big thank you to all influential Republicans who stand up for decency, respect, and intelligence. It does our country no good, for prominent people to use hate speech, to gain polical influence. People like Colin Powel, Senator Cornyn, President GHW Bush, need to speek up and help moderate republicans take back their share of the party. The Republican party has resembeled nothing, more that an episode of the Jerry Springer show, lately.

    June 12, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. mw

    We love the wisdom of the beloved George HW Bush. Too bad his son does not have his qualities. Lovers of his son are the hatespeech radicals we are cursed with every day. rush, cornyn, sean, newt, ann, laura, boner.

    June 12, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  11. Dan, TX

    An adult republican speaks. Thank you.

    June 12, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  12. Uncle Jessie

    Should we trust Mr. READ MY LIPS?

    He is a senile, old left wing GOP fart.

    June 12, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  13. Barry in MO

    Hearing George HW Bush speak these days just illustrates the difference between him and his son. Bush the elder is an Amercian first and a statesman. His son... not so much.

    June 12, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  14. blah blah blah

    I think dad did better job as prez than son and I bet dad was a better pilot too.

    June 12, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  15. Ted

    At last. A republican of high standing that is bringing common sense to this issue. Newt and Rush and the rest of the idiots should stop and listen to how stupid they have been.

    June 12, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  16. wakeupamerica

    What took you so long GHW Bush? Why did you allow Newt and others to call her a reverse racist.

    June 12, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  17. MikeTo

    Another wise Republican that may be asked to leave the republican party because he is supporting President Obama's pick.

    June 12, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  18. Jeff

    While I did not often agree with H.W. Bush's politics and decisions I did and still do have respect for him. This is in stark contrast to his son, President G.W.. H.W. is a veteran who bravely served our fine country in World War II. G.W. was in my view a draft dodger during the Vietnam War. And during the 2000 election campaign when G.W. questioned Kerry's service and the Swiftboat jerks did too, Kerry should have bluntly stated you can question my military action and accomplishments, but at least I WAS THERE PAL !!! Then he should have knocked G.W. on his ass. With this his election victory would have been assured.

    June 12, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  19. Nathan from Atlanta

    Good for you GHW!

    June 12, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  20. Ted Tartaglia

    Is former President George H.W. Bush still a member of the Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gringrich, Hannity, McConnell, Boehner, Republican Party? He sounds much too moderate to be accepted by the evangelical hard right religious bigots who comprise the base of the Republican Party.

    June 12, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  21. Jon in CA

    I like Bush Sr ... more in the years after his Presidency... but I disagree with his running to the rescue of Sotomayer.

    Perhaps he is more defending HIS decisions years ago... but when considering a justice for SCOTUS – everything needs to be scrutinized.

    Sotomayer calls herself an "Affirmative Action Baby". PLEASE PEOPLE... can't we demand HIGHLY QUALIFIED nominees and not ones just because of their gender or ethnicity??

    SAY NO TO Affirmative Action SCOTUS nominees!!!

    June 12, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. DougDC

    Once again former President GHW Bush shows the class and reasonableness that was sorely missing from W. I never voted for him, but I do believe that GHWB has been a class act in many ways.

    June 12, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  23. Scott SD, CA

    I think people are starting to realize the OLD Republican Party looks really good these days compared to what the "GOP" has become since Karl Rove took the party over with "W" as his trained monkey!

    June 12, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  24. Dan

    Mr. George H.W. Bush,

    Please Go Away.

    We don't want to See You. We don't want to Hear You.

    You and your Son George W. Bush have ruined America. Both of you are Warmongers. Put America to War.

    Your Son is a Criminal, responsible for the death of 4300 US Troops. He should be in Jail.

    June 12, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  25. ced

    does it take a former POTUS who happens to be 85 to tell current GOP leadership (blah, blah and blah) ther're dead wrong about his former pick Sotomayor. the so called GOP leadership looks to oppose any and everything the current POTUS does even if it means bashing the pick of their former boss(how low can you go? apparently not low enough). what a bunch of idiots. once more, they think ther're right. OMG! please help us if these wingnuts ever assume office again.

    June 12, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
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