May 27, 2009 10:38 a.m.

Are The Hill — and anti-Sotomayor operative Curt Levey — really suggesting that the judge’s fondness for Puerto Rican cuisine is a handicap for higher office:

Sotomayor also claimed: “For me, a very special part of my being Latina is the mucho platos de arroz, gandoles y pernir — rice, beans and pork — that I have eaten at countless family holidays and special events.”

This has prompted some Republicans to muse privately about whether Sotomayor is suggesting that distinctive Puerto Rican cuisine such as patitas de cerdo con garbanzo — pigs’ tongue and ears — would somehow, in some small way influence her verdicts from the bench.

Curt Levey, the executive director of the Committee for Justice, a conservative-leaning advocacy group, said he wasn’t certain whether Sotomayor had claimed her palate would color her view of legal facts but he said that President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee clearly touts her subjective approach to the law.

“It’s pretty disturbing,” said Levey. “It’s one thing to say that occasionally a judge will despite his or her best efforts to be impartial … allow occasional biases to cloud impartiality.

We’re looking into whether this was a joke, because, really, it can’t be serious, can it?

Late Update: Our crack news editor Justin Elliott, who caught this passage in the first place, also flags for me the use of the verb “claimed” to describe Sotomayor’s assertion, as if they’re hedging against this not being a true statement. You really need an eyewitness for solid confirmation because otherwise, what, it might be a faked love for rice, beans, and pork?

Later Update: It’s no joke.

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