Graham: 'Not fair' to call Sotomayor racist

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOvernight Health Care — Presented by the Association of American Medical Colleges — Trump officials move to expand non-ObamaCare health plans | 'Zero tolerance' policy stirs fears in health community | New ObamaCare repeal plan McCain, Coons: Trump should withdraw controversial refugee nominee GOP senators drafting legislation to keep immigrant families together MORE (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.”

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"My criticism about her comments and the speech that she made wasn’t that I think this lady is a racist — I don’t. The reason I don’t is because the people who worked with her throughout her life, all of the people who agree with her and disagree with her, no one has ever said [that]. There is no evidence.

“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 SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMadeleine Albright slams Trump over immigration New Hampshire GOP gov: I won’t send National Guard troops to ‘separate families’ Overnight Defense: States pull National Guard troops over family separation policy | Senators question pick for Afghan commander | US leaves UN Human Rights Council MORE’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.