Bush defends Sotomayor nomination

Chris Rizo Jun. 12, 2009, 4:33pm

Sonia Sotomayor

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline)-Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush on Friday defended the Supreme Court nomination of Sonia Sotomayor, who has drawn the ire of some conservatives.

In an appearance on CNN, the former president said criticism of the appeals court judge, calling her a racist is "not fair."

"She was called by somebody a racist once. That's not right. I mean, that's not fair," Bush said. "It doesn't help the process. You're out there name-calling. So let them decide who they want to vote for and get on with it."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., and conservative radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, among others, have labeled Sotomayor, who is of Puerto Rican descent, a racist over remarks she made in a 2001 speech at the University of California Berkeley.

She said a "wise Latina woman" may make better decisions than a white male.

Bush, a Republican, appointed Sotomayor in 1991 to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. In 1997 Democratic President Bill Clinton nominated her to the appeals court post she now holds in the 2nd U.S. Circuit in New York.

President Barack Obama nominated Sotomayor to fill the Supreme Court vacancy that will be created when Associate Justice David Souter, who is retiring from the high court, leaves the bench at the end of this summer.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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