By Alexander Bolton - 06/03/09 01:42 PM EDT
Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), an influential Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Tuesday that it’s “not fair” to call Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a “racist.”
Graham made the statement after a meeting with Sotomayor in which he told the federal judge he was troubled by her statement in a 2001 speech suggesting a “wise Latina” may have better judgment than a “white male who hasn’t lived that life.”
“But this statement is troubling, and I did tell her this,” Graham added.
The South Carolina Republican, however, said he did not ask her for an apology and declined to say how she responded.
“You have to ask her,” he said.
Graham also backed up Senate Judiciary Committee ranking Republican Jeff Sessions’s (Ala.) call for confirmation hearings in September.
Graham said he is wrestling over whether to vote for Sotomayor. He said that if he applied the same standard the Senate used to confirm Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg overwhelmingly, he would vote for Sotomayor.
But Graham said if he used the standard that President Obama used as a senator to vote against Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito, he would oppose her.
“When I look at her ideology, record and philosophy, I am deeply troubled,” he said.