AP: Pat Leahy got Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” remarks wrong

Nice to know that someone at the AP is paying attention to the Sotomayor hearings-for-show:

WASHINGTON (AP) – In endorsing Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy did some creative rewriting of history. And he put quote marks around it.

Trying to head off criticism of a controversial comment, Leahy misquoted Sotomayor’s own words in kicking off the second day of her confirmation hearings.


LEAHY SAID: “You said that, quote, you ‘would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would reach wise decisions.'”

THE FACTS: If that’s all Sotomayor said, the quote would barely have mattered to opponents of her nomination. The actual quote, delivered in a 2001 speech to law students at the University of California at Berkeley, was: “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.”

Leahy’s revision dropped the controversial part of the phrase, the part that has attracted charges of reverse racism.

Sotomayor said her words have been misunderstood. She said she intended to tell students that their experiences would enrich the legal system. But she softened her language Tuesday, say that no ethnic, racial or gender group has an advantage in judging.

Unfortunately for the AP, they didn’t go far enough in their factchecking. As we talked about last night on BlogTalkRadio, conservative bloggers, chiefly John Hinderaker at Power Line, caught Sotomayor blatantly lying by completely revising the context of the controversial remark. Read John’s full post here in which he quotes Sotomayor’s statement at the hearings this week, versus what she actually said in her speech in 2001 speech about “wise Latinas.”

In a follow-up today, John notes Byron York’s report that Republican aides don’t believe Sotomayor was telling the truth about her wise Latina comments and are “preparing a follow-up today.” Should be interesting. York also talked to Pat Leahy about his misquote of Sotomayor. Predictably, he gave a lame – and not believeable – excuse.

SCOTUSblog is continuing to liveblog the Sotomayor hearings. You can keep up with all the latest there, and watch the hearings live C-SPAN.

Related: Ed Morrissey writes about Sotomayor’s “so-so reviews so far.”


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