- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sen. Lindsey Graham called on Judge Sonia Sotomayor to apologize for remarks she made in a 2001 speech about her ethnic heritage, though he said he does not believe her to be racist.

Judge Sotomayor told an audience she “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.”

Conservative leaders Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich called the comment racist, but Republican lawmakers have hesitated to label her a racist for the remark.

“It’s getting from her life experiences a superiority based on those experiences versus somebody else in society,” Mr. Graham, South Carolina Republican, said on “Fox News Sunday.” “And I don’t want that kind of person being a judge in my case. But I don’t think she’s a racist.”

President Barack Obama told NBC News Friday he believed Judge Sotomayor “would have restated” that sentence, noting that the rest of the speech she delivered was about how her upbringing as a Latina gave her the experience to be a good judge.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said critics are taking Judge Sotomayor’s remarks out of context.

“I think the first thing she’ll say is read the whole speech, which was then published in a law review article,” Mr. Schumer said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “And she makes it clear that while, of course, people’s personal experiences guide them, rule of law comes first.”

Judge Sotomayor has not commented on her remark or the speech, although White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs has said he believed she used a “poor” choice of words.

• Tom LoBianco can be reached at tlobianco@washingtontimes.com.

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