Cornyn: Gingrich And Limbaugh Statements On Sotomayor Are ‘Inappropriate’ And ‘Wrong’

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As if to magnify what are already major differences between elected Republicans and conservative activists on the question of Sonia Sotomayor, check out what conservative senator (and chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Judiciary Comittee member and former Texas State Supreme Court Justice) had to say on NPR yesterday.

“I think it’s terrible. This is not the kind of tone that any of us want to set when it comes to performing our constitutional responsibilities of advice and consent.”

Republican leaders may not have as much sway over their own interest groups as Democratic leaders do over their, so don’t expect the attacks to stop. But it’s a bold statement. He even lashed out at Newt Gingrich and the unassailable Rush Limbaugh.“Neither one of these men are elected Republican officials [and] I just don’t think it’s appropriate and I certainly don’t endorse it. I think it’s wrong.”

You can listen to the entire interview here.

Of course, any time a Republican official says anything unflattering about Rush, it’s worth asking a couple questions: Will he apologize for it? And how long will he wait?

Interestingly, on the question of Sotomayor’s insistence that her background influences her thinking on the bench, host Melissa Block asked Cornyn if conservatives were holding the new nominee to a double standard. After all, at his confirmation hearings in 2005, Justice Samuel Alito said similar things about his own upbringing. Here’s how Cornyn responded.

Well, that’s a fair point, and I had not remembered that. I mean, we’re all a product of our upbringing and who we are. And I think it is a fact that people do have different backgrounds, but I don’t think those backgrounds ought to determine what the law is.

We’ll have more for you on Alito later today. In the meantime, remember this if you’re in front of the squawk box later today and you’re wondering what all the fuss it’s about. It’s about a lot of things–but not Sonia Sotomayor.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com
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