The nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court has provoked a barrage of criticism from President Obama’s opponents, but some have cautioned the GOP against taking a tough line.
Conservatives have primarily focused on what they see as Sotomayor’s activist record, in particular in a recent case in which the New Haven Police Department scrapped the results of a firefighter promotion exam because almost no minorities qualified for promotions, a decision she supported as a judge.
However, some have also brought up charges of racism against the Hispanic judge currently sitting on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Right-wing pundits from Rush Limbaugh to Newt Gingrich have denounced Sotomayor after a passage was quoted from a speech she delivered eight years ago in which she seemed to suggest that a Latina female judge "would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life."
"White man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw," Gingrich tweeted, quoted by CNN.com. "Latina woman racist should also withdraw."
However, commentators have pointed to the danger of alienating the Latinos at a time when the GOP has record low popularity among the ethnic group, partially as a result of the failure of the Bush administration to ensure the passage of a broad legalization bill in 2006.
In last year’s presidential election, 67 percent of Latinos voted for Obama.