From Jake Tapper at ABC News:
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs walked back controversial comments made by Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor in 2001 when she said, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.”
“I think she’d say her word choice in 2001 was poor,” Gibbs said. “She was simply making the point that experiences are relevant to the process of judging. Your personal experiences have a tendency to make you more aware of certain facts and certain cases, that your experiences impact your understanding.”
Gibbs was told Sotomayor feels this way by two people heading her confirmation team, vice president Joe Biden’s chief of staff Ron Klain and Biden’s counsel Cynthia Hogan.
Sotomayor made the comments at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. This week critics including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., and talk radio giant Rush Limbaugh have characterized the remarks as racist.
Senator John Cornyn, a member of the Judiciary Committee , dipped into the fray a bit criticizing her remarks as well: "I think the problem is that when judges begin to focus on themselves rather than the role at hand -- which is to interpret the law -- they start to get in trouble," the Texas Republican told NPR.
About her use of the word “better,” Gibbs said “I think if she had the speech to do all over again I think she’d change that word.”