Arlen Specter, the former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, saved his most interesting Sonia Sotomayor comments for last — applauding her "wise Latina" comment but criticizing the "caution" that has defined Supreme Court confirmations since Robert Bork back in ’87.
He also said he was "pretty sure" Sotomayor would vote to preserve abortion rights, based on her respect for Roe v. Wade as precedent.
Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican-turned-Democrat, was relegated to the end of the podium this morning, but offered a cogent, concise post-game wrap-up moments before the committee approved her nomination 13-6.
"I didn’t find fault with the ‘wise Latina’ comment, I find it commendable," said Specter, the first Senator to flat-out endorse her controversial comment, adding: "There’s nothing wrong with a little ethnic pride."
That said, he added: "The one regret I have about Judge Sotomayor’s testimony was her extreme caution" and said it was spurred by the mis perception that Bork was ambushed 22 years ago by liberal activists.
"The myth was that he was ‘Borked’ — I don’t know if that’s a verb or a participle — except I know it’s no true," said Specter, whose "no" vote as a Republican helped doomed Bork.
"Judge Bork answered a great many questions because of his writings and his background. He believed in ‘original intent’ and he didn’t believe the protection clause extended behind race and ethnicity — [that it] did not apply to women… He did not believe in due process of law."