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July 10th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Can New Haven firefighters derail Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There's an old saying: "Payback's a bitch." Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor ruled against a promotion test for firefighters in New Haven, Connecticut because not enough minorities scored well enough to qualify. Last week the Supreme Court overturned that decision and now it's the firefighters' turn.

Republicans plan to call two of the firefighters who didn't get promoted to testify during Sotomayor's confirmation hearings next week. The white one who originally claimed reverse discrimination, and the lone Puerto Rican one who joined the lawsuit and incidentally scored very well on the test.

This will make equal opportunity the focus of, at least, part of the confirmation hearings and will no doubt serve as a source of some embarrassment to the nominee. The hope is to establish that appellate judges may be influenced by personal and political views such as a belief in racial preferences for minorities.

The GOP also has 12 other witnesses on their list. It should be standing room only.

Democrats are planning to call 15 witnesses, many of them Republicans, in hopes of defending critics and convincing the 19 member judiciary committee that Sotomayor is a mainstream judge worthy of becoming the first Hispanic and third woman to be seated on the high court.

Here’s my question to you: Can firefighters from New Haven, Connecticut, derail Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
June 30th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

How will SCOTUS reversal on Sotomayor decision affect her confirmation?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Critics of Judge Sonia Sotomayor have some new ammunition... now that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a group of white firefighters claiming reverse discrimination in New Haven, Connecticut.

The high court said New Haven was wrong to scrap a promotion exam because no blacks and only two Hispanic firefighters would have been promoted. It's a case that could change employment practices around the country... and make it harder to prove discrimination.

And it's a bit of an embarrassment for the White House - since President Obama's Supreme Court nominee had earlier ruled against these firefighters.

All this comes just two weeks before Sotomayor's Senate confirmation hearings... Republicans say the Supreme Court's decision raises issues about her ability to serve on the high court... they say they'll use this ruling, along with her 2001 comment about a "wise Latina woman" to question her views on discrimination.

But supporters of Sotomayor say the ruling actually proves her restraint and unwillingness to go beyond established precedents... that's because the panel on which she sat upheld a district court judge in the case. The Supreme Court's five-to-four ruling also gives the justice cover.

The White House insists there's "little political significance" to the court's decision when it comes to Sotomayor. I guess we'll see in two weeks.

Here’s my question to you: How will the Supreme Court's reversal of a decision by Sonia Sotomayor affect her chances of confirmation?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
June 4th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Why did Gingrich and Limbaugh change their tune about Sotomayor?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh - the Abbott and Costello of the Republican party - are dialing down their rhetoric when it comes to Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Gingrich - who just a week ago called on the "Latina woman racist" to withdraw - is taking it back.

Cafferty: The kind stuff Gingrich and Limbaugh say doesn't make them very popular.

He now says his initial reaction to the judge's comments was "perhaps too strong and direct." Really... ? He says he shouldn't have used the word "racist" to refer to Sotomayor as a person - even if her words were unacceptable.

The other gas bag, Limbaugh, says he doesn't know why Gingrich retracted his comment. The radio host still believes Sotomayor would "bring a form of racism and bigotry" to the court. But Limbaugh says he may look past that and is now open to supporting President Obama's nominee if he can be convinced that she has a "sensibility toward life in a legal sense." He's talking about abortion here. What a guy.

Kind of makes you wonder who in the Republican party got to these guys. Senator Jeff Sessions - who had condemned the hateful talk - is praising Gingrich's decision to back off his "racist" comment.

Meanwhile it's clear that the kind stuff Gingrich and Limbaugh say doesn't make them very popular. A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll shows Gingrich with a favorable rating of 36-percent, and Limbaugh at a measly 30-percent. When you compare that to Colin Powell - who gets a favorable rating of 70 percent - there's little question about which direction the Republican Party should be headed.

Here’s my question to you: What caused Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh to change their tune when it comes to Sonia Sotomayor?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Newt Gingrich • Rush Limbaugh • Sonia Sotomayor
June 1st, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Sotomayor's comments enough to derail nomination?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Republican senators are voicing skepticism when it comes to President Obama's Supreme Court nominee... although they are, thankfully, staying away from the hateful language of Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich.

If approved, Sonia Sotomayor will be the first Hispanic and the thrid woman ever to serve on the Supreme Court.

Republicans point to Sonia Sotomayor's strong legal background... yet say they're concerned about speeches she's made about a judge's decisions being affected by life experiences. The one comment that's getting the most attention is when Sotomayor said in 2001 that "a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male."

The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jeff Sessions, says: "It goes against the heart of the great American heritage of an independent judge." And Senator Lindsey Graham calls the remarks troubling and inappropriate, and says Sotomayor should apologize.

Well - it seems the White House has gotten the message that the judge's remarks could be a pretty big deal. The president himself came out to say he's sure Sotomayor would restate that comment - without indicating how he knows that. Mr. Obama says if you look at the judge's full comments, she was saying that her life experiences will help her understand peoples' struggles and will make her a good judge.

Sotomayor appears headed for confirmation, but the White House wants more than a slim majority; they're hoping for a smooth confirmation and a strong win - something that may be complicated by the judge's remarks.

Here’s my question to you: Will Sonia Sotomayor's comment about "a Latina woman vs. a white man" be enough to derail her Supreme Court nomination?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
May 28th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Does it hurt GOP when right-wing critics call Sotomayor a racist?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The national dialogue just doesn't seem to get any gentler. Right-wing conservatives like Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh are now out calling Judge Sonia Sotomayor a "racist."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is among several prominent Republicans who have called Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a 'racist.'

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is among several prominent Republicans who have called Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a 'racist.'

They are pointing to comments that the Supreme Court nominee made in 2001, when she said, "a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.".

Gingrich goes so far as to say that a white racist male nominee would be forced to withdraw and so, too, should a racist Latina.

The White House is pushing back, saying it's important for anyone in this debate to be "exceedingly careful" in how they describe different aspects of the confirmation process. And Hispanic leaders warn that critics risk alienating Latinos if they appear to be judging Sotomayor before she can even defend herself; nominees traditionally don't say anything publicly ahead of their confirmation hearings.

As Ed Rollins writes on CNN.com, the battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party has now spilled over into this Supreme Court confirmation debate. He says critics who have been unable to attack President Obama think they can smear him with his court pick. But Rollins says there can be no debate over Sotomayor's qualifications, and warns Republicans that this confirmation "is not the battle to be waged and it won't be won."

Here’s my question to you: Does it hurt the GOP when Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh call Judge Sonia Sotomayor a "racist"?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Newt Gingrich • Rush Limbaugh • Sonia Sotomayor
May 27th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

GOP dare to vote against 1st Hispanic woman nominated to Supreme Court?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Republicans are in yet another tough spot – this one when it comes to the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court of the United States. Chalk up another brilliant bit of political strategy to our new president.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor would be the first Hispanic U.S. Supreme Court justice if confirmed.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor would be the first Hispanic U.S. Supreme Court justice if confirmed.

President Obama's nominee would be the first Hispanic justice - and only the third woman justice - in the history of the nation's highest court.

Conservative critics are branding her as a liberal activist judge, and are pointing to her past comments. In 2001, Sotomayor said, "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."

Rush Limbaugh calls Sotomayor a "reverse racist" and "an affirmative action case extraordinaire” who puts down white men in favor of Latina women.

But the White House is defending the judge's comments, saying taken in context, what she says is "very much common sense in terms of different experiences, different people.”

Another comment getting attention came in 2005 when Sotomayor said, "a court of appeals is where policy is made.”

Republican senators say she will need to prove her commitment to impartiality, but RNC Chairman Michael Steele warns that if his party hopes to include more Hispanics, they have to be careful about how they approach Sotomayor.

The bottom line here is barring some unforeseen scandal, Sotomayor's confirmation will likely sail through the Senate with Republicans afraid to challenge it for fear of alienating Hispanic voters.

Here’s my question to you: Will Republicans dare to vote against the first Hispanic woman nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Sonia Sotomayor