Last week, Newt Gingrich said that Judge Sonia Sotomayor should withdraw her nomination because she is a “Latina woman racist.” Today, in what several commentators are characterizing as an apology or walk-back, Gingrich clarifies his comments. “The word ‘racist’ should not have been applied to Judge Sotomayor as a person, even if her words themselves are unacceptable,” Gingrich writes in the right-wing Human Events. Rather, Gingrich says, we should view Sotomayor’s words as revealing “a betrayal of a fundamental principle of the American system — that everyone is equal before the law.” Gingrich continues his apology by characterizing her as a “radical”:
So the question we need to ask ourselves in considering Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation is this: Which judge will show up on the Supreme Court, the radical from her speeches or the convention liberal from her rulings? […]
Has President Obama nominated a conventionally liberal judge to a lifetime tenure on our highest court? Or a radical liberal activist who will cast aside the rule of law in favor of the narrow, divisive politics of race and gender identity?
If Gingrich thinks Sotomayor is going to have trouble putting aside “divisive politics of race and gender identity,” perhaps he can offer her a few pointers. After all, its something that Gingrich has apparently struggled with in the past. (HT: Karen Tumulty)
In an interview today with CNN’s Dana Bash, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) reacted to Gingrich’s pseudo-apology, saying, “I just haven’t felt that it’s appropriate to make those kind of strong statements about her. … I’m very glad he backed off. … I think it will help us.”