Romney Sotomayor ads irk Latino groups
March 7th, 2012
01:18 PM ET
9 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. GI Joe.

    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.

    March 7, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  2. lloyd roberts

    Right, only "liberal" judges are activist. Not conservatives, Scalito and company. Give me a break. The real problem on the Supreme Court is that for the first time in history there is no Protestant, the people who wrote the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. It's Catholics and Jews on the court and that's what I call religious activists

    March 7, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Truth wrote:

    Well, if Obama put her on the USSC because she was hispanic then he WAS pandering. The MOST QUALIFIED person should be nominated without regard to race. You do know there are laws against racial discrimination right?
    You do know that Ronald Reagan appointed the first female Supreme Court justice, and had announced that he had been looking specifically for a woman appointee.

    I guess that you don't understand those laws, nor the political process of Democracy defined by the US Constititution.

    March 7, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  4. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Activist judge=a judge you disagree with. Like the judge that ruled that I have to pay my speeding ticket. Our Founding Fathers never intended for me not to drive over 50mph in a 25mph school zone! They would have supported my freedom as fast as I want!

    March 7, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  5. Big George in Big D

    @Dave – no – he is NOT taking with all the "groups" you have chosen to list. Sotomeyer IS an activist judge. Why do liberals get all up in the air when a spade is called exactly what it is – A SPADE! The democRATic party is the most devisive party I've ever seen and I'm quite happy to say that I am NOT a part of it. I have long sought to be independent and chose the best I deemed qualified for the job at (vote) hand. Unlike so many of you people – just little minions doing what your little ol party wants you to do. No minds of your own.. Tsk Tsk – shameful people.

    March 7, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  6. Jules

    Stupid is as stupid does, that's what my momma always used to say.

    March 7, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  7. Save Us Jeebus

    Romney just can't get it right. He tries to pull in one group of voters by alienating another. So, he goes for anti-SCOTUS voters by denigrating Latinos and women. These GOP nuts are practically handing the election to Obama.

    March 7, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  8. Dom

    George Washington isn't just iconic to "whites"...he's iconic to Americans, quit putting race into the equation. If he feels that she isn't qualified then he has a right to say so. I don't think Mitt Romney would be a good president, so I won't vote for him. That has zero to do with his religion/color and more with the fact that the Republican party is out of touch with the American people.

    March 7, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  9. edog

    Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    edog – WOW! Mitt is talking crazy. So let me get this straight... POTUS thinks the supreme court should "more" reflect the populations of the USA by nominating a Hispanic Judge to the court. This action acknowledges the fact that the Hispanic population is growing and that they should have a representation on the Supreme Court. However, this act my Obama is seen as pandering?
    Well, if Obama put her on the USSC because she was hispanic then he WAS pandering. The MOST QUALIFIED person should be nominated without regard to race. You do know there are laws against racial discrimination right?

    Truth – It's called 'affirmative' action which means if she was "the most qualified" Hispanic, it would not be discrimination. don't worry, your conservative "activist" Supreme court has a pending case about affirmative action, so we can be sure that law will be no longer applicable.

    What would your definition of "most qualified" be. Mine would be someone who can understand a point of view from a major group of American citizens that was not being represented on the Supreme Court, at the time. Face it! America is the land of immigrants. That is what makes us to exceptional!! it was time to appoint a Hispanic to the Supreme court since they are such a major part of our country.

    March 7, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  10. The Real Tom Paine

    I love the sweeping statements that some make on here with no proof, like 25-30 million Hispanics are illegal: Its just wonderful to see a self-decribed defender of "truth" to go so quickly off the rails because there is a public figure they disagree with. No need for reflective thought when you have a knee-jerk response available.

    March 7, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  11. vic , nashville ,tn

    Evangelical Christians not voting for Romney
    Blue collar voters not voting for Romney
    Minorities will not vote for Romney
    Majority women will not vote for Romney
    Young voters will not vote for Romney
    Seniors who oppose Paul Ryan budgets will not vote for Romney
    This list will go on

    March 7, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  12. davec

    I don't care what she is, who she is, or where she came from. She's a bad choice, based upon her own record.

    March 7, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  13. sara

    And no mention of the Chief Federal Judge that said the president's mother had sex with a dog. A GWB appointee. Not a word about the Citizens United ruling. Hispanics should be offended.

    March 7, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  14. paul

    when it comes to brains this man is poor.

    March 7, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  15. Marla

    Pay attention, Latino voters!
    Vote Democrat 2012!
    I would so love to see red states like Texas and Arizona turn blue because of the Latino vote.

    March 7, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  16. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Well, he agrees with Rush, but would use different language, so what do you expect from the man of many Mittens?

    March 7, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  17. Charlotte

    Dear Mr. Romney: Pot, meet Kettle. Cheap political tactics? REALLY? Well, you should know one.

    March 7, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  18. The Real Tom Paine

    Big George in Big D, please don't do the right-wing internet drive-by and claim you are an independent. Conservative justices are just as activist when they deny rights to groups based on their own social activist agendas. Does Citizens United ring a bell? There is no way that a corporation can claim the rights of an individual, yet now they can by judicial fiat.

    March 7, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. CaliLiberal

    Mitt Romney never ceases to amaze me. There is no end to the levels he will stoop to to pander. Unfortunately, his willingness to pander to one fringe group alienates many others. Let's be frank, Mitt Romney and the WOP (Warmongeringn Old Party) are the group of anti. They are anti LGBT, anti Latino, anti Black, anti women, anti poor, anti cop, anti teacher, anti firefighter, anti union, anti voting rights, anti middle class, anti climate change. Now, lets look at their pro's, pro assault rifle, pro 1%, pro corporation, pro religious zealot, pro old angry and white. Now, only using common sense, if you are a working class American, does the WOP really stand for you?

    March 7, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  20. Another Day in the Idiot Mines

    Way to keep up that Hispanic outreach program, Rmoney! I'm sure it will pay off well in the future.

    March 7, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  21. Nellie Bly

    Perhaps if the GOP would quit treating all Hispanics as immigrants, legal or otherwise, they might get somewhere with them. A lot of "those people" have roots going back further than Mitt's.

    March 7, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  22. the Situation

    Mitts is an idiot! Next Question!

    March 7, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  23. once upon a horse

    those who want to call it discrimation because he picked a Hispanic women? OMG just think if he had of picked a BLACK man or woman for the SCOTUS?? Doesn't matter even if they were more qualified he still would have been called a racist for doing it. Just saying....

    March 7, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. Zenfire

    Rick Santorum is not the guy to lead this nation to better things. He doesn’t have the experience and knows very little about the economy. Truly, he is a rookie. We can’t afford another rookie in the highest office in the land. We need someone who has been tested in his leadership skills and abilities. That person is not Rick Santorum. If you think about this, you know this to be true.

    March 7, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  25. cali girl

    I will take Sotomayor more than Clarence Thomas ANY day of the week. Sotomayor speaks more for American people, Thomas is the biggest perv next to Uncle Hermie.

    March 7, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
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