Gingrich Joins Other Conservatives in Calling Supreme Court Nominee “Racist”

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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said President Barack Obama’s U.S. Supreme Court pick, Sonia Sotomayor, is a racist and should withdraw her name from consideration.

Other conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter have also accused Judge Sonia Sotomayor of making racist comments in 2001,when she addressed former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s famous quote that “a wise old man and a wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases” during a lecture at the University of California-Berkeley.

“I am also not sure that I agree with the statement,” Sotomayor said. “First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, 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.”

Gingrich, R-Ga., wrote on his blog today, “Imagine a judicial nominee said ‘my experience as a white man makes me better than a Latina woman. Wouldn’t they have to withdraw? New racism is no better than old racism. A white man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. [A] Latina woman racist should also withdraw.”

The criticism comes just one day after President Obama made the announcement to nominate Sotomayor, who if confirmed would be the nation’s first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice.

Sotomayor is currently an appellate court judge, who has previously worked as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan, as a partner in the New York law firm of Pavia & Harcourt, and as a judge on both the U.S. District Court in Manhattan and the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Pundits have noted that Sotomayor’s nomination was a masterful political move by Democrat Barack Obama, since it places the Republicans in a precarious position when it comes to confirmation hearing, which are expected to begin within the next few weeks. If the Republicans oppose Sotomayor too stridently, they risk alienating their female and Hispanic demographics, but they also run the risk of angering the conservative base if they are not tough enough on the nominee.

When White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was asked about the comments, he said, “I think it is probably important for anybody involved in this debate to be exceedingly careful with the way in which they’ve decided to describe different aspects of this impending confirmation. I think we’re satisfied that, when the people of America and the people of the Senate get a chance to look at more than just the blog of a former lawmaker that they’ll come to the same conclusion that the president did.”

 

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