GOP Senators Tone Down Criticism of Sotomayor

WASHINGTON (AP) - Some Republicans have been calling Supreme
Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor (soh-toh-my-OR') a racist for suggesting once that a Latina woman might make better decisions from the bench than a white man would. But Republican senators who'll be considering her nomination don't want to go there.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson is calling on her colleagues to focus instead on Sotomayor's record. The Republican from heavily-Hispanic
Texas tells CNN that there needs to be a "respectful tone" as senators examine the judge's rulings.

And Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says the "racist" label doesn't represent his view of the nominee -- though he said he's not going to try to police the language of conservative commentators. He says Sotomayor's life story is "absolutely impressive."

Lindsay Graham of South Carolina says he doesn't think Sotomayor
is a racist. But Graham, who's on the Judiciary Committee, tells Fox News that Sotomayor should apologize for her choice of words -- which the White House has said she probably regrets.

Democrats are defending Sotomayor. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New
York tells ABC that it's only natural to understand that "our experiences affect us."

Although the White House wants the confirmation hearings to wrap
up before Congress takes a summer break in August, senators from
both parties say they won't be boxed in by that timetable.


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