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A Wise Latino Man: Marco Rubio as the Anti-Sotomayor

5:25 PM, Jul 14, 2009 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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"I think [Crist] has permanently swung the court in Florida to an activist majority for years to come," Rubio told THE WEEKLY STANDARD during a telephone interview. Rubio rejects the view that "each judge [is] a representative of their sex or their race or their class," and he says he's concerned that Republicans will cave to liberal Hispanic organizations that suggest that opposition to Sotomayor is based on bigotry."I don't want to see this important moment to have a high-minded, philosophical discussion about the role of the judiciary to pass us by simply because of the historic nature of her nomination," Rubio says. "The true measure of progress for the nation when it comes to issues surrounding race and ethnicity is the freedom of people of conscience to disagree with one another based on sound philosophical or political reasons without fear of being branded as racists."

Asked if Republicans will pay a political price with Hispanics for opposing Sotomayor, Rubio says, "I think Hispanic voters are Americans and want what's best for America. I don't think Republicans will hurt themselves, if it's a philosophical opposition." Rubio asks: "Do we want judges in the mold of Chief Justice John Roberts, who likened the judge's role to that of an umpire who dispassionately and objectively applies the law, or do we want judges like Sotomayor who reject the notion that objectivity is even possible and believe it's appropriate for judges to decide cases based on their personal experiences and prejudices?"

Despite his pointed criticism, Rubio says he will wait until the hearings finish to decide whether or not he would support Sotomayor. In Florida, voters won't render a verdict on Rubio v. Crist for 13 more months, which is good news for the underdog Rubio. That means he has plenty of time for the state's Republicans to get to know him. Although Crist still swamps Rubio in every poll by more than 20 points, a recent Mason-Dixon poll showed that the race was tied among voters who recognized both candidates.