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. Pete East

    Well put.

    Yes, please get on with the vote.

    June 12, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  2. I can see Canada from my house!

    This is why Bush 41 will always be viewed more favorably than his son: he respects the process, and understands that civility has value. For these reasons he will always have my respect.

    June 12, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  3. Sarah

    Maybe they will listen. Vote for or against and let's move on. What's up with the theatre. This is why people who don't like democrats still vote for them. The alternative is just too childish and should not be trusted.

    June 12, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  4. Mark

    "H" is in the news a lot lately and why? Son Jeb wants to be president in 2012? Does anyone want to make a bet that Jeb will pop up and declare his candidacy eventually. Ya betcha!

    June 12, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  5. Brian

    And this make him less evil how?

    June 12, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. John in NoHo CA

    I voted for Clinton to get Bush Sr. out of office. But there is no doubt in my mind that he's a truly wonderful and decent man, first and foremost. I've seen interviews with him after he left office, like during his tour for the book that contained the letters he wrote over the years. It wasn't until we were exposed to his son that I truly came to appreciate Geroge H.W. I wish him well.

    June 12, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. Joe E.

    Hurray! Let the faux opposition end unless, of course, the RNC really is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rush Limbaugh Enterprises. We shall see.

    June 12, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  8. David

    i stopped caring to listen to anything a Bush says when I realized how shady they are. They are Skull & Bones, CFR stooges. Not to mention, Bohemian Grove pervs.

    June 12, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  9. Mitchel

    I think this shows just how much person character and honor former President George H. W. Bush has for putting the country above partisan politics (I won't mention the right-wing, overweight talk-show host I'm contrasting this with).

    I say Bravo! and a Happy Birthday to former President George H. W. Bush!

    June 12, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  10. RightWithoutReason

    Everyone knows that GHW Bush is a left wing extremist. (snark)

    June 12, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  11. ABMiller

    A class act. Carter and Gore could learn something from HW.

    (But regarding Judge Sotomayor - why shouldn't the GOP treat her exactly the way Sen. Obama treated Alito and Roberts...? What comes around goes around, even if he is a deity.)

    June 12, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  12. Sammy

    How many leaders does the GOP have? Seven? Ten? Fifteen? Twenty Thousand? No wonder no one knows what their message is, they don't even know.

    June 12, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  13. Andi

    CNN – W is also 'former' President Bush. Why do you keep referring to him as 'President' Bush? President Obama is OUR duly elected President

    June 12, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  14. John Black Hills/SD

    I believe it would be appropriate for republicans to listen to what GHW Bush (41) has to say, and how he says it. Limbaugh and Gingrich will have that nasty claim of racism behind them for a long time. Maybe not Limbaugh since the majority of Americans think of him as a meat-head whose radio show holds as much political respect as Howard Stern.

    June 12, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  15. John B. From New Hampshire

    Common sense from George HW Bush... thank freakin' god someone from the Right actually thinks for themselves instead of following which ever way the wind blows... thank you!

    June 12, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. Now the right wing is gonna hate Bush too!

    How dare old man Bush speak against Rush, Newt and Cheney. They have decided Sonia is a racist (which evidently they are against) and not Bushie here is being critical of their position. I can see it coming. There's gonna be an interview within a week or so where these fools are gonna start to marginalize GW senior. He'll fit into the Colin Powell catagory, and they hate that. By the way, where's W these days? He's probably keeping his head down to avoid the wrath of the rightwing nuts on Fox who dislike Sonia.

    June 12, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  17. Chris D.

    The only Bush who knew how to fight a war and get out of a war......Republicans helped kick him out of office b/c he wanted to raise taxes to pay for Reagan's deficit......Well it doesn't matter we got Bill Clinton out the deal.
    So on w/ the hearings....confirm Sotomayor.

    June 12, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  18. Limbaugh is a Liberal

    Yeah, such a great endorsement from the president who appointed Clarence Thomas, who turned out to be the laziest, most partisan, most incompetent judge on the Supreme Court ever!

    June 12, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  19. Susan

    Now, what will the problem for the elected republicans be?? What a sad lot!!

    June 12, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  20. IS IT 2012 YET ??

    GHW – always a decent man. Too bad there aren't any Democrats like him.

    June 12, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  21. loretta

    If George H W. Bush says to give her a chance, then I will. He knows what he is talking about.....He was one of our greatest presidents,
    along with his Son and Reagan.....

    June 12, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  22. RB in FL

    The voice of Republican common sense has spoken.

    June 12, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  23. EDDIE

    I wonder if the gop will attack bush one because of his comments?That seems to be what they do when someone does not agree with them.After all you are not entitled to your opinion only the gop's opinion.

    June 12, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  24. Elliebee

    Name-calling and being a party of NOs is the only thing the GOP leadership knows how to do. They never have any plans or solutions, just constant complaints and attacks. What a bunch of cowardly sissies!!

    June 12, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  25. Michael

    George H.W. Bush is truly a man of honor. As a loyal Democrat, I have the utmost respect for Bush Sr. I will contend that he got a raw deal in '92...but I guess that is politics. The more and more I learn about him in terms of foreign policy and domestic policy, the more respect I have for him. A true statesman. Well said Bush Sr.

    June 12, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
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