Romney Sotomayor ads irk Latino groups
March 7th, 2012
01:18 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney Sotomayor ads irk Latino groups

(CNN) - Mitt Romney has caught the attention of Latinos with campaign ads that highlight the significance of Sonia Sotomayor's appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court - but it may not be the kind of attention he wants.

In a pro-Romney radio ad released this week in Ohio, conservative Jay Sekulow says that Rick Santorum's 1998 vote to confirm Sonia Sotomayor to the federal circuit court "put her on a path to the Supreme Court."

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Sekulow heads the American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative advocacy group founded by Pat Robertson that regularly files appeals to the Supreme Court on a range of hot-button issues, including same-sex marriage, affirmative action and abortion.

When Santorum voted for her confirmation in the late 90s, Sotomayor had been elevated by President Bill Clinton from the federal district court to a seat to the 2nd Circuit U-S Court of Appeals, based in New York.

In 2009, she was still a federal appeals judge when President Barack Obama nominated her to the Supreme Court. And by then Santorum had left the Senate.

In the ad, Romney notes that 29 of Santorum's colleagues voted against Sotomayor in 1998. The criticism echoes Republican attacks on "activist" or liberal judges.

But, that's not how it's being taken by some Latinos. "This unprovoked attack is another example of how Romney and the Republican Party are pushing the Latino vote to Obama," Angelo Falcon, president of the National Institute for Latino Policy said in his daily online message to pundits and press. "They forget that Judge Sotomayor is an icon for the Latino community. It's like attacking Martin Luther King or George Washington, for blacks and whites."

Back in February, Romney used a similar tactic in a Michigan television ad that asked if Santorum is ready to be president. In making its case, the ad uses as evidence that he voted for "liberal judge Sonia Sotomayor" and adds that Santorum "opposed creating E-Verify, a conservative reform to curb illegal immigration."

The Democrats jumped on the issue. "Mitt Romney has shown time and again that he is after the Tea Party vote, not the Latino vote, and with each attack he locks himself more to his extreme positions," Juan Sepulveda, Democratic National Committee Senior Advisor for Hispanic Affairs, said in a statement.

The tactic also caught the attention of Latino press. Univision's Tumblr reported on the ads and noted that the last direct attack on Sotomayor came when former candidate Rick Perry called her Montemayor accidently.

The Romney campaign responded to the Univision report with this statement from spokesman Albert Martinez: "Once again President Obama and his liberal allies are resorting to dishonest smears in an attempt to distract Hispanics from his abysmal record as President. Sonia Sotomayor is an activist judge who was handpicked by both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama because of her liberal sympathies and confirmed because Washington insiders like Rick Santorum did nothing to oppose her. This attack says a lot about how President Obama views the Hispanic community, as just another group of Americans he can pander to and divide for political gain."

Romney's not the only Republican to attack Sotomayor. Before he was a presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich was criticized by some Latino leaders and members of Congress when, during her confirmation hearings, he tweeted in 2009 that she was a racist for having once said, "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

Also see:

Palin votes for Gingrich

'Joe the Plumber' wins GOP primary in Ohio

In battle of incumbents, Kucinich loses House seat in Ohio

Palin on open convention: Anything is possible

Filed under: Ads • Latinos • Mitt Romney • Ohio • Sonia Sotomayor
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Dave

    Oh no he DIDNT! Mittens, youre not the sharpest tool in the shed.

    March 7, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  2. justsaying

    So sad to see CNN contributing to the dishonest media smears being used to distract Hispanics from Obama abysmal record as President. But not surprised..

    March 7, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  3. Natalie

    Love how conservatives approve only of neo-con judges; anyone who strays from their radical far-right myopic vision of the world is an "activist". Give me an activist anyday; that's how the world progresses. Mittens is one phoney politician and it amazes me he has a following at all. What a bunch of lemmings! They guy switches his views to please the crowd; I don't respect that at all and I certainly don't want that in a leader.

    March 7, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  4. Ji-myung

    Why in God's wonderful creation would any Latino/a or black ever vote for a Tea/Republican in the first place? For that matter, any white too?

    March 7, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  5. Russ in Md

    A nother twisting of a meaning by a liberal new organisation. he's is not talking about Latino heritage. He is talking about the altra left liberal views that she hold dear to hear Obama loving heart.

    March 7, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    The right-leaning roberts supreme court is the worst ever activist sc.

    In face, one (the black on – i forget his name) is married to the head of one of the bagger groups but refuses to recuse himself on anything. Bad. Activist Republican supreme court must be ok, just not allowing any liberals.
    His name is Clarence Thomas, and his wife is actually the head of one of the largest (read as richest) conservative lobbying groups in Wash. D.C. When "Citizen's United" came before the SCOTUS, his wife was representing one side of the case. Guess which side she represented, and which way that he voted.

    FOOTNOTE: Justice Thomas is one of the least talkative members of the SCOTUS. The man has not issued a written opinion on a case before the court since Bush's first term. He always votes the same as his best friend, Scalia.

    March 7, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  7. JimC

    justsaying... what's so abysmal about Obama's record? Things are turning around, bin laden's dead, Detroit is resurging, our allies respect us again, the stock market is way up, etc. Is your memory so short that you can't remember the mess Bush left behind him? It took Roosevelt twelve years and entry into WW2 to get out of the great depression. Obama has had just over three and an obstructionist Congress to deal with.

    March 7, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  8. DeTamble


    You only see bad because thats what you are looking for.
    Obama is doing a fine job.

    March 7, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  9. mannycl

    CNN is also becoming a tabloid not better tnan NBC. Pitiful article.

    March 7, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  10. Ron

    At this rate, the only votes Romney or Santorum are going to get are rich, white men over 65 years old. Their mealy mouthed failure to denounce Limbaugh was very telling. Romney's attack on a Latina Supreme Court Justice is uncalled for and politics as usual. Guess what? I'm not a liberal Democrat, I'm white, over 65, and I have a daughter 30 years old. Neither of these guys will get my vote.

    March 7, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  11. Laverne

    Romney continue to alienate women, hispanics, gays all in an effort to win over the tea party folk. He may win them over in the primary, but in the fall he will be singing a different tune and no one will hear him! I can't wait for the match up between Romney and Obama, it is going to better than WWE smackdown!

    March 7, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  12. Lenny Pincus

    So Romney messes up again and its all the liberals' fault. Boo hoo.

    March 7, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  13. ozzie

    The many faces of racism

    March 7, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |

    Still voting for "that one."

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    March 7, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  15. Tom in VA

    Abysmal? What is so "Abysmal" about Mr. Obama's record?

    March 7, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
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