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. Miss USA

    Finally–an adult emerges from the GOP playpen.

    June 12, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  2. William Bennett

    If only his grace and decency had rubbed off on his son!

    June 12, 2009 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  3. Thomasr

    This is the essence of the republican party calling minorities names and attacking that is not in lock step with them. I admire the former president for coming out and recognizing that his party has been taken over by radicals. I may have disagreed with him on policy but he has shown himself to be a decent guy. What happened to his son? He was a man of hate and ignorance.

    June 12, 2009 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  4. Renel Carolipio

    I hardly agreed with Bush Sr.'s policies but I have always respected the man for his integrity and honor. Sure he had made mistakes during his presidency, but this man's integrity is better than any past presidents. Bush Sr. will always be known for his grace and kindness. If only republicans would have the same characteristics as Bush Sr., they would have a chance in 2010. Right now they seem to have Palin as their leading nominee. They will suffer another loss.. and an extremely big loss to boot for have a ill-informed, ignorant, and hypocrite candidate.

    June 12, 2009 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  5. bill

    Happy birthday Mr. President. You show class that neither of your sons will ever have.

    Being a Democrat, I have always admired your class and integrity, something that the "self appointed" leaders of your party do not have.

    June 12, 2009 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  6. Kirkd

    Pretty cool that he points out everybody should stop all the slander and name calling and focus on the vote. That goes for both parties. Things sure have changed in that regard since he was in office. Politicians today act like children. We should send them all home and use the money we pay them to fix our economy.

    June 12, 2009 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  7. vince

    Colin:"What if a white male said his life experiences and emotions would help him make a better judge than a latina female? "

    As a moderate white man Democrat I agree with you. There definitely is a double standard about who can be rascist.
    The problem with the GOP is that they have gone bonkers. Newt, Cheney, Rush and Palin as the voices of your party? And as for knuckleheads...that's just what the GOP served up ...George W!
    That didn't do much for your party now did it?

    June 12, 2009 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  8. Big Daddy

    War_boi – I'll be glad to start capitalizing hispanic when you show me "Hispania" on a map. In the mean time, I'll be keeping it lower case while I continue to capitalize Mexican, Spanish, Venezuelan, Chilean, etc.

    June 12, 2009 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  9. Penn Voter

    Personally I can't stand Obama or the socialist agenda he is pushing. But I do that think the addition of a Hispanic American to the court is fitting and I am glad that it is also so a women. The supreme court is tasked with ensuring that the law is applied according to the constitution. In may opinion that means looking at the situation from multiple points of view and bringing together a consensus that represents the people of this land.

    Well the people of this land are men, women, white, black, asian and hispanic, so it is only right that a hispanic be added to this court. The people of this land are also of different political bias, liberals, conservative and independent moderates, so the supreme court should also be mixed to ensure that the people are represented.

    I am glad to see that the Bushs are taking the high road, maybe a little Reagan rubbed off on George Sr. when they served together.

    June 12, 2009 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  10. Jacked_UP_Politics_N_FL

    Wow it is amazing how Rush and Newt bobble heads are calling someone racist. Do they even know what that term means.

    NEWS FLASHHHHHHHH...Get up...Walk 5 steps...Look in Mirror

    June 12, 2009 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  11. Tawnya Jones

    When Obama gets done screwing with the American people's pocketbooks and life savings, you will wish you had George Bush, Sr. back in the White House.

    June 12, 2009 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  12. Republicans is smart in the head area

    I think he's the last of the true Republicans. Now all we are left with are the Lee Atwater (lie, smear, ridicule, disdain, etc.) Republicans, who GHWB ironically brought to the fore.

    June 12, 2009 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  13. thinking person

    War_boi wrote:

    June 12th, 2009 5:01 pm ET

    "I thank the American People for all they do as they weather the storm back home. God bless you all. Peace. Good night…"

    I take it you are overseas... military, I'm guessing? Thanks so much for your sevice, and for your thoughtful, intelligent comments. You are a breath of fresh air after some of the other comments here. Stay safe.

    Everyone else, read War_boi's other comments above, epecially the one at 5:53pm

    Vote however you want – just make sure you THINK and UNDERSTAND first.

    June 12, 2009 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  14. Lee

    Although I am a liberal Democrat, I have always respected G.H.W. Bush.

    June 12, 2009 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  15. foxrun


    Tell us, did you volunteer to join the armed forces? If so, quit being a baby and fulfill your duty. You signed the contract not us, so quit crying.

    Quit trying to blame someone else for your own actions. I can honestly say, the difference between GW and you, is he at least has integrity to stand on his principles and decisions: good or bad.

    So quit trying to use this forum for your own mental health.

    June 12, 2009 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  16. txleadhead

    Who cares what the wimp says. He sucked and his son was even worse. Not one family has hurt this Country as bad as this one. He should hang his ugly face in shame.

    June 12, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  17. Mike in SA

    Heidi, Reagan didn't say much about either Carter before him or Bush 41 after. Bush 41 didn't say much about Reagan before him or Clinton after. Bush 43 didn't say much about Clinton before him and hasn't said anything about Obama after him. They have remained silent out of respect for the office and understanding of just how difficult that job can be. Funny that Dems don't seem to have that quality.

    Bush 41 was smart enough to know that if he vocally supported his son in one policy area and then did not in another, the media would view his silence as disapproval and the second guessing would begin. He understands how hard that job is especially when you have a bunch of people second guessing you.

    June 12, 2009 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  18. Craig Simpson

    An 85 year old man trying to mend fences for the republicans. Goes to show you how far the party has fallen and the fact that this party will still be mired in its own dirt for the next decade.

    The republicans are an excellent example of power corrupting, incompetent leadership and a discraceful role model.

    It couldn't happen to a worse bunch of idiots. Lumbug and Cheney have done a great job. All Democrates love you!!!!!

    June 12, 2009 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  19. Jeffrey G. Brown

    This guy was a marginal president, but compared to his son he was George Washington!!!!!

    June 12, 2009 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  20. John

    I've always had respect for GHW (and I'm a life long democrat) and he proved once more by his words today that it was not a misplced trust.

    June 12, 2009 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  21. elana

    I respect both former President George H. W. Bush and George Bush for having the common sense to stay away from making remarks concerning the new Administration! I may not have agreed with things that occured under their watch in Washington, but they certainly have refrained from giving us their two cents worth of commentary since President Obama was inauguarated. That cannot be said about the majority of Republicans these days!!

    June 12, 2009 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  22. bsmith171

    well the old east coast liberal showed why he was a one term prezzie.

    he was a man at 18 and a boy at 65.

    June 12, 2009 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  23. InlandEmperor

    Thank you Mr. President. You are indeed a President...statesman...we can all be proud of.

    June 12, 2009 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  24. kathy

    so far obama has pick is no good. and iam not surprised at all.
    so far his choices and work no good.

    his doing the stuff and does not need to re do .

    June 12, 2009 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  25. Ken

    The man is and always was a gentleman, rather like Colin Powell and unlike those who nowadays purport to speak for the party – Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, Coulter, Ingraham, and Cheney etc. These latter-mentioned spokespeople have seized and taken the party hostage simply for their own personal financial gain. They are the domestic terrorists about whom we should worry.

    June 12, 2009 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
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