Smear: L.A. Times Lies About Cornyn’s Comments on Sotomayor (Update: Quote Sent Down the Memory Hole)

posted at 6:20 pm on May 31, 2009 by Patterico

Today the Los Angeles Times lies to its readers about Sen. John Cornyn’s statements on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” Here’s what the L.A. Times says:

Only days earlier, Cornyn said in a radio interview that it was “terrible” for conservatives to be attacking Sotomayor as a “racist.” But today, the senator did not reiterate those sentiments and pledged that he and other Republican lawmakers would probe deeply into Sotomayor’s past comments and rulings to see if her heritage colors her ability to make fair decisions.

The hell he did. Yes, he said Republicans would closely examine her record. But he never said that Republicans would seek to learn whether her “heritage” would affect her ability to be a fair judge. In essence, the paper is saying, Republicans are concerned that Sotomayor might be a poor judge because she is a Latina. That is an outrageous distortion of Cornyn’s comments.

Rather than focusing on Sotomayor’s ethnicity, Cornyn focused on Sotomayor’s statements and rulings. Cornyn said Republicans were concerned by Sotomayor’s ruling in the New Haven firefighters case, and her comments about how she would be a better judge because of her Latina heritage. The focus was on her actions and words, not on her “heritage.”

The transcript of Cornyn’s appearance is here. On a separate page, I have included every single comment that Cornyn made in this morning’s appearance, so you can see with your own eyes how this newspaper is lying about Cornyn’s comments.

Indeed, Sotomayor herself is the one who has claimed that her ethnicity and heritage might be relevant to her judging:

“I 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,” said Judge Sotomayor . . . . “Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences,” she said, for jurists who are women and nonwhite, “our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.”

Today, Cornyn actually said the exact opposite, telling George Stephanopoulos that it “shouldn’t make any difference what your ethnicity is.”

For the L.A. Times to claim that Cornyn pledged to examine whether “her heritage” would make her a bad judge is an outright fabrication by the newspaper, and they should be deeply ashamed.

The L.A. Times owes Cornyn an apology. Do you think he’ll get one?

Yes, that was a rhetorical question.

UPDATE: Looks like the paper got embarrassed by this quote and decided to send it down the memory hole. Now, when you click on the link above, the passage I quoted is missing. Luckily, I saved a copy and a screenshot. Details here.


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