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Sotomayor's Word Choices, Then and Now - Past Remarks and Upcoming Courtesy Calls

By June 1, 2009

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Now that she's a Supreme Court nominee, what federal appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor thinks of her controversial 2001 comment that "a wise Latina woman...[would] make a better decision than a white male" isn't clear. But last Friday, President Obama told NBC News, "I'm sure she would have restated it" if given the chance.

How does he know this? The Associated Press reports:

Obama's top spokesman, Robert Gibbs, told reporters about Sotomayor: "I think she'd say that her word choice in 2001 was poor."

Gibbs, however, said he did not hear that from Sotomayor directly. He said he learned it from people who had talked to her, and he did not identify who those people were. Sotomayor herself has made no public statements since her nomination became official Tuesday and was not reachable for comment.

If put to her directly, Sotomayor will be able to answer that question soon enough. Tomorrow she begins several rounds of face-to-face meetings with senators - known as "courtesy calls" - that precede the Senate confirmation hearings the Obama administration hopes will begin in July.

She is also busy completing an extensive questionnaire that she'll need to return to the Senate Judiciary Committee prior to the hearings. What are the questions she'll be answering? My colleague Robert Longley, Guide to US Government Info, takes a look at the 10-page document and provides a link to the actual questionnaire.

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June 4, 2009 at 4:16 am
(1) Donna says:

Shes a racist…… Plain and simple

June 7, 2009 at 7:08 am
(2) Jim says:

If one reads Judge Sotomayor’s comment v-e-r-y carefully, it should be clear that the comment is not racism. “HASN’T LIVED THAT LIFE” are the four key words in the statement
1. Judge Sotomayor: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.
2. White Male: I would hope that a WISE man with the RICHNESS of his EXPERIENCES would more often than NOT reach a BETTER conclusion than a LATINO FEMALE who HASN’T LIVED THAT LIFE.

June 7, 2009 at 7:13 am
(3) Jim says:

Mr. Gibbs is trying to read her mind. Her word choice was accurate. Too many men did not want to hear what was said. Socrates and Galilei had similar problems with their audiences.

Obama’s top spokesman, Robert Gibbs, told reporters about Sotomayor: “I think she’d say that her word choice in 2001 was poor.”

June 11, 2009 at 11:11 am
(4) jcdevildog says:

I think that Judge Sotomayor’s statement simply reflects a fact of our society. The underclass always knows more about the ruling class than vice versa–because they have to, and because they constantly hear about the upper class’s members via the media, the courts, local government, etc. The same is not true in reverse: that’s why many whites genuinely didn’t understand why African-Americans weren’t content under slavery or segregation.

I’m sure that Judge Sotomayor learned plenty about how white men think during her college and law-school years, as well as in her years on the bench. I can only hope that her white male colleagues learned as much from her during that time.

And before anyone calls this “reverse racism”, I speak from the perspective of an economically disadvantaged white Southerner who spent my college years being asked by more affluent friends (at the top college I attended on scholarship)whether my dad was in the Klan and if they could come home with me “to see how the lower classes live”.

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