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Barnes: Sotomayor ‘benefited’ from affirmative action ‘tremendously.’

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"Barnes: Sotomayor ‘benefited’ from affirmative action ‘tremendously.’"

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On MSNBC yesterday, Pat Buchanan repeatedly attacked Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor as an “affirmative action candidate,” echoing right-wing claims that she has “been the recipient of preferential treatment for most of her life.” On Bill Bennett’s radio show this morning, Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes argued “that she’s one of those who has benefited from affirmative action over the years tremendously.” When Bennett noted that she graduated Summa Cum Laude from Princeton, which he called “a pretty big deal,” Barnes dismissed it, saying “I guess it is”:

BARNES: I think you can make the case that she’s one of those who has benefited from affirmative action over the years tremendously.

BENNETT: Yeah, well, maybe so. Did she get into Princeton on affirmative action, one wonders.

BARNES: One wonders.

BENNETT: Summa Cum Laude, I don’t think you get on affirmative action. I don’t know what her major was, but Summa Cum Laude’s a pretty big deal.

BARNES: I guess it is, but you know, there’s some schools and maybe Princeton’s not one of them, where if you don’t get Summa Cum Laude then or some kind of Cum Laude, you then, you’re a D+ student.

Listen here:

On Tuesday night, former Bush adviser Karl Rove said that despite her stellar academic credentials, Sotomayor was “not necessarily” smart. “I know lots of stupid people who went to Ivy League schools,” said Rove.

Transcript:

BENNETT: She does have an interesting life story.

BARNES: She does have an interesting life story, but then so did Clarence Thomas. That didn’t seem to have much bearing on…

BENNETT: That’s exactly right.

BARNES: On the Supreme, on the Judiciary Committee. You know, 48 voted against him. So, that’s fine. But look, that’s, I mean, the life story shouldn’t make any difference. Remember the figure of justice is blind.

BENNETT: Yeah, exactly, that’s right.

BARNES: They’re not supposed to be ruling on the basis of their life experience, even when it sounds pretty great. I think you can make the case that she’s one of those who has benefited from affirmative action over the years tremendously.

BENNETT: Yeah, well, maybe so. Did she get into Princeton on affirmative action, one wonders.

BARNES: One wonders.

BENNETT: Summa Cum Laude, I don’t think you get on affirmative action. I don’t know what her major was, but Summa Cum Laude’s a pretty big deal.

BARNES: I guess it is, but you know, there’s some schools and maybe Princeton’s not one of them, where if you don’t get Summa Cum Laude then or some kind of Cum Laude, you then, you’re a D+ student.

BENNETT: That ain’t one of them, I know, because I’ve got two boys there and that’s the grade deflation thanks to your buddy and my buddy Robbie George. He started, he said they’re grading too high. Now this may have been before the grade deflation thing, but they’ve had a movement there at Princeton to cut those grades way down.

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