Yes, George H.W. Bush appointed Sonia Sotomayor -- and Al D'Amato praised her

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

It seems the right is frantically trying to explain away the fact that the first President Bush nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. district court, and having some success getting reporters to buy their spin. A little bit ago, Washington Post reporter Robert Barnes downplayed the appointment, making a factual error aong the way.

Now, Politico's Ben Smith says a Weekly Standard writer has "partially puncture[d]" the talking point that Bush appointed Sotomayor. Here's Smith:

One of the key talking points about Sotomayor is that she was first appointed by a Republican, President George H.W. Bush.

John McCormack partially punctures that one, noting that "Sotomayor was nominated as part of a compromise in which Democratic Senator Moynihan was allowed to recommend judges for two of the seven vacancies."

So it's worth keeping in mind that New York's other senator, Republican Al D'Amato, spoke glowingly of Sotomayor. As Media Matters has previously noted:

[D]uring the September 30, 1997, Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the confirmation of several judicial nominations, D'Amato stated: "I predicted to this committee, almost five years ago, that Judge [Sonia] Sotomayor would be an exemplary, outstanding justice. She has demonstrated that, repeatedly. She has shown compassion, wisdom, one of the great intellects on the court."

In fact, during D'Amato's 1998 unsuccessful re-election campaign, backers praised him for his support for Sotomayor. Here's a 1998 New York Post report:

D'Amato, meanwhile, snagged Herman Badillo's endorsement, marched in the Hispanic Day parade and launched a radio ad in Spanish attacking Schumer for missing votes in Congress on Puerto Rican issues.


Badillo praised D'Amato for spearheading the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor, a Puerto Rican, to the U.S. Court of Appeals and for organizing disaster relief efforts recently for the hurricane-ravaged Dominican Republican and Puerto Rico.

Finally, the right's effort to downplay Bush's appointment of Sotomayor by pointing to the fact that Moynihan recommended her is, well, nonsense. Moynihan may have recommended her, but Bush still appointed her. Nobody would say Ruth Bader Ginsberg doesn't count as a Clinton nominee because Orrin Hatch recommended her to him, would they?

Supreme Court Nominations, Sotomayor Nomination
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