Robert Gibbs warns the GOP to “be careful” of the way they talk about Sotomayor

Posted by: ST on May 27, 2009 at 8:35 pm

Check out this exchange from today’s WH press briefing with Robert Gibbs on the issue of Newt Gingrich describing Sotomayor as a “Latina woman racist”:

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs issued a pointed warning to opponents of Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court nomination Wednesday, urging critics to measure their words carefully during a politically charged confirmation debate.

“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,” Gibbs said.

He was replying to a question from CBS’s Chip Reid about a blog post by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich accusing Sotomayor of imposing identity politics on the bench and declaring: “A white man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. A Latina woman racist should also withdraw.”

“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… they’ll come to the same conclusion that the president did” about Sotomayor’s qualifications, Gibbs replied.

Yeah – and those “qualifications” were, again? That she was a Latina.

Here’s the video:

This is all part of a coordinated plan by the WH to put Republicans in a position where they’re screwed no matter what they say – or don’t:

President Obama had been “very interested” in her from the start, said one top adviser, and almost immediately, his political advisers–led by Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel–urged him to make history by tapping the first Hispanic justice.

The selection of Sotomayor, they argued, would energize a key and growing constituency, which could well be disappointed in coming months by expected failures to get meaningful immigration reform.


But as the contenders over the weekend worked furiously on the Senate questionnaire, sources close to the process said there was steady and growing momentum for Sotomayor.

There also was a slightly different political argument. Advisers calculated she would be the savviest move for the President to avoid an all-out battle over his Court nominee, according to sources close to the process.

With the president hoping to achieve a crowning accomplishment in his first year with health care reform, advisers pointedly warned against another big fight elsewhere, sources said.

As the first Hispanic nominee, with a compelling life story and rich judicial experience, Sotomayor would be hardest for Republicans to oppose, they argued, and therefore easiest for Obama to get confirmed.

The name of the game is identity politics, and trying to either stifle (via fear of backlash) legitimate debate over whether or not a nominee deserves a lifetime appointment to the SCOTUS. But the administration also knows that there will be plenty who are not afraid to dissent (like Newt, for example), and for the admin it’s all about trying to frame their criticisms as “racist and sexist” – and it’s done in order to 1) get an ideologue on the court and 2) win over a key voting bloc. So no matter what Republicans do, it’s hard to see where they can achieve even a “moral” victory on this one. This is pure politics, because Sotomayor won’t need the support of Republicans to be confirmed, anyway.

This administration truly has no shame.

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20 Responses to “Robert Gibbs warns the GOP to “be careful” of the way they talk about Sotomayor”


  1. Mwalimu Daudi says:

    Mickey Edwards, the former GOP Congressman from Oklahoma, warns Republicans against opposing Sotomayor.

    Is it just me, or is the majority of the GOP “elite” seem to be curling up and going fetal?

    At any rate, it is safe to say that Edwards is taking Gibbs’s threat to heart and won’t buck the Narrative..

  2. MarkJ says:

    Well, Mickey’s unsolicited advice illustrates why I’m glad he’s the former GOP congressman from Oklahoma.

  3. Great White Rat says:

    Typical leftist hypocrisy…it’s now clear that ST is right: Sotomayor’s most important qualification is her ethnicity.

    But there could have been a Latino on the Supreme Court well before this – except the Democrats blocked a nomination to the Appeals Court bench primarily because they didn’t want George W. Bush to get credit. Remember Miguel Estrada?

    And remember the internal Democrat staff strategy memos that show why he was Borked?

    They also identified Miguel Estrada (D.C. Circuit) as especially dangerous, because he has a minimal paper trail, he is Latino, and the White House seems to be grooming him for a Supreme Court appointment. They want to hold Estrada off as long as possible.

    In other words, the Democrats have played identity politics with the judicial nominations right along. Just like they do with national security. I know, I’m just shocked too. :o

  4. Bear1909 says:

    Can a Latina step up and interpret the Constitution in a manner befitting of an accomplished practitioner of the law? Sure one can. But what if her decisions have been overturned more than a manhole cover?

    This woman is scandalously biased and filled with Latina rage. Dump her.

  5. Bear1909 says:

    By the way, every time the Soetoro camp “warns” us about anything we should give him and his whuss staff the middle finger salute. I dont care what their agenda is: THE FIRST AMMENDMENT MAKES THIS COUNTRY WHAT IT IS— AMERiCA.

    I despise these people.

  6. Bear1909 says:

    And what about the detonated nuke over in NORK? Are we supposed to be careful about that too, Mr. Gibbs? Are you idiots doing ANYTHING about that?!?! Or are you just kissing Latino voter butt?

  7. Carlos says:

    Let’s see. She made a statement that’s so racist she could be arrested for a racial crime per donk legislation. She has the highest rate of overturns in history. And she has the mental acuity of one of the Special Olympians Obama disparages so easily.

    Yeah, she’s a shoe-in because she’s a typical lib.

    And why are the elephants worried about losing the “latino” vote? Seems to me the champion of giving our country away, one J. McCain, didn’t get a whole bunch of their votes, so what makes them think playing nicey-nice with the mental midget will improve their chances of getting even one more such vote in 2010 or 2012?

  8. Glenn Cassel AMH1(AW) USN RET says:

    Straight up, OK. Can I have a piece of this little dirtbag? I know it is pointless but administering a well deserved thrashing to an individual who obviously needs one is something that is required every now and then. And little bobbie gibbs is in desperate need of a good old fashioned ass whipping!!!!!!!!!

  9. Glenn, go get yourself a press pass and have at it! You could write for Stars and Stripes… :)

  10. Karmadancer says:

    I dunno, guys. Lately the MSM out here seem to smell blood in the water….and it isn’t GOP-flavored for once. They’ve been hitting awfully hard on the “latino women understand things better” comment, noting its inherent prejudice.

    Let’s see how far reporters go with this.

  11. Karmadancer says:

    OK, here’s what I was trying to say but couldn’t, written by someone much better at writing than I am ;) :

    But Republicans can use the process as a teaching moment, not to tear down Ms. Sotomayor on personal issues the way the left tried with Justices Clarence Thomas and Sam Alito, but to educate Americans about the proper role of the judiciary and to explore whether Judge Sotomayor’s Constitutional principles are as free-form as they seem from her record.

    From the Wall Street Journal


  12. Carlos says:

    Sotomayor seems to be to the Constitution what Hitler was to “Kumbaya”: all talk and a completely different agenda.

  13. Anon says:

    “Sniffy” Gibbs is so patronizing that he makes The One look less so. This is a difficult thing to do.

  14. alchemist says:

    You know, she actually has a history of cases that you can read through. I think these too be all more informative than a single sentence in a single speech.

    actually has a a done a pretty good job of going through decision by decision to determine her views and temperment. If you are determined to tear her down, that’s a good place to start.

  15. Mwalimu Daudi says:

    You know, she actually has a history of cases that you can read through.

    Indeed. We can begin with Ricci v. DeStefano, where Sotomayor ruled against the plaintiff because he was a white male. Or will the argument be that we cannot examine “a single case”?

    Or how about her “compelling personal history”? Even AP admits that she spent most of her childhood in a middle-class neighborhood and not a poor Bronx one, as Obama and other supporters falsely claim. Sotomayor went to an excellent private Catholic high school out of the reach of most families. At Princeton and then Yale, she agitated for even more racial special privileges.

    Let’s let AP (not exactly a conservative Republican propaganda organ) pick up the “compelling story”:

    [Sotomayor] climbed her way up through New York’s Democratic power structure boosted by its ultimate brokers over those years — Gov. Mario Cuomo, Mayor Ed Koch, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. That’s the access of a partner in a corporate law firm, not a kid from the South Bronx.

    She now earns more than $200,000 a year and owns a condominium in Greenwich Village, a neighborhood of million-dollar-plus homes. Her brother, Dr. Juan Sotomayor, is a physician in North Syracuse, N.Y., whose practice doesn’t accept Medicaid or Medicare — programs for the poor and elderly — according to its Web site.

    In other words, she is yet another snooty out-of-touch rich liberal snob who used her ethnicity and high-powered connections to climb the ladder of success. Washington is hip-deep in them.

    Perhaps you had better stick with the “single sentence in a single speech” angle, since Sotomayor’s “compelling personal history” is not compelling at all, and her judicial record tends to back up her racist views. But take heart! Racism is quite chic in the Democrat Party these days. Even David Duke has seen the light and sounds like an anti-war liberal Democrat.

  16. Mwalimu Daudi says:

    OOPS – it looks like Sotomayor believes that the Bill of Rights does not apply to the states.

    Well…in addition to not considering her racist diatribe it appears that we now have two cases that we should not examine. Pretty soon all of Sotomayor’s record will be off-limits.

  17. Carlos says:

    Her actual record, as is any record of any Zero nominee, is quite off-limits except for what our grand and glorious leader wants us little people to have.

  18. Lorica says:

    All I care about is how often she has been overturned by the Supreme court, and from what I have heard it is way to frickin’ often. I want to know how a justice who has been overturned 75% of the time, gets a seat on the very court that is overturning her. =)) Where is the logic in that?? – Lorica

  19. Great White Rat says:

    Alchemist refers us to an analysis at SCOTUSblog that absolves Sotomayor of any bias in her rulings. As usual, alchemist’s references have a number of problems.

    First, you’re assuming the analysis itself has no bias. That’s clearly wrong. Scroll down just a little in alchemist’s link and you find a previous post by this same Tom Goldstein. Here’s what he says BEFORE doing his analysis:

    In the rush the find Sotomayor’s “biases,” media personalities and conservative opponents latched onto her Berkeley speech.. (note the scare quotes – GWR)

    It seems to me that these numbers decisively disprove the claim that she decides cases with any sort of racial bias.

    Shorter Goldstein: This is what I believe, and now I’m going to look for evidence to support it.

    This is like having Ted Kennedy examine evidence about whether Barack Obama is a spendthrift, and then concluding “Of course not”. You’d certainly believe that, right??? :-?

    Second, the analysis is loaded with false comparisons based on how “republican” judges voted. Golstein and alchemist apparently forgot that David Souter is a “republican”. This is a meaningless comparison meant to prove Sotomayor is mainstream.

    Third, it relies on cherry-picked cases – those that Goldstein classifies as “discrimination” cases. How did she rule on other cases? Does it give any indication how she rules on “non-discrimination” cases involving a minority on one side and a Caucasian on another? No…that’s conveniently left out.

    Fourth, the analysis ignores her high rate of reversals, as Lorica noted.

    If this situation were reversed – picture a white male nominee saying his race and gender mean he can render a superior judgment to a Latina woman – alchemist would be off on one of his rants about shredding the Constitution.

    In point of fact, saying your “life experience” makes you more qualified to judge a case will disqualify you as a juror. The irony is that Sotomayor’s comments mean she could not serve on the jury of one of those cases based on her prejudice. So maybe alchemist can explain why, if she couldn’t be on the jury in one of those cases, why she should be allowed to judge those cases.