Patterico's Pontifications

6/1/2009

The Original Text of the L.A. Times Article Sent Down the Memory Hole

Filed under: — Patterico @ 12:56 am

Here is the original version of the L.A. Times article discussed in this post:

Reporting from Washington — Since the introduction last week of Sonia Sotomayor, Republican senators wary of attacking the first Latino Supreme Court nominee have criticized fellow conservatives who have branded her a “racist” and even predicted a smooth confirmation.

But several of those same GOP senators, now reluctant to criticize conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich for their racially tinged critiques of Sotomayor, signaled today that they too are ready to make race a key focus of the nomination battle as they settle on a touchy question: Can a woman who says her views are shaped by her gender and ethnicity make fair decisions when it comes to white men?

“We need to know, for example, whether she’s going to be a justice for all of us or just a justice for a few of us,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, speaking on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”

Only days earlier, Cornyn said in a radio interview that it was “terrible” for conservatives to be attacking Sotomayor as a “racist.” But today, the senator did not reiterate those sentiments and pledged that he and other Republican lawmakers would probe deeply into Sotomayor’s past comments and rulings to see if her heritage colors her ability to make fair decisions.

Cornyn’s comments were echoed in television appearances by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky; Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee; and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), another member of the panel that will conduct hearings.

At issue is a 2001 speech in which Sotomayor expressed 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.”

The senators also promised today to question Sotomayor about a recent appellate ruling in which she rejected a discrimination claim by a white firefighter.

“By ignoring a genuine constitutional issue about reverse discrimination in the New Haven firefighter case, you know, the comments she made about the quality of her decisions being better than those of a white male — I mean, we need to go further into her record to see whether this is a trend or whether these are isolated and explainable events,” Cornyn said.

McConnell refused to repudiate Limbaugh, Gingrich and other conservatives who have called Sotomayor a racist, telling CNN that they were “entitled to their opinions.” The minority leader added that he had “better things to do than be the speech police over people who are going to have their views about a very important appointment.”

The senators’ comments today underscored how Sotomayor’s history of speaking out about her ethnicity had emerged as a surprisingly resonant issue in her confirmation right — one that is not necessarily welcomed by President Obama, who as the country’s first black president has tried to de-emphasize race as part of his efforts to win broad public appeal and avoid the marginalization that has defined many African American politicians in the past.

There is no indication that Sotomayor’s confirmation is in serious jeopardy. But in a sign of concern over the growing role of race in the debate, Obama on Friday took the unusual step of criticizing his nominee, saying she made a poor choice of words.

The bolded part that I originally quoted has now been rewritten.

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