RNC Chairman Michael Steele isn't shying away from highlighting race as a signifying issue of the Sonia Sotomayor Supreme Court nomination hearings.
"God help you if you're a white male," said Steele. "If you're seeking justice, this may not be the bench you want to go before."
The remarks come at a time when Republican officials have attempted to remove any semblance of racial politics from their opposition to Sotomayor's nomination. Earlier on Tuesday, Sen. Mel Martinez, a Hispanic Republican from Florida, defended Sotomayor's now-infamous "wise Latina" remarks as sensible.
"For someone who is of Latin background, personally, I understand what she is trying to say," the Senator said after meeting with Sotomayor. "Which is, the richness of her experience forms who she is. It forms who I am."
Likewise on Tuesday, conservative New York Times' columnist David Brooks endorsed Sotomayor's temperament for the bench by highlighting the experiences in her background.
"If you look at the whole record," Brooks wrote, "you come away with the impression that Sotomayor is a hard-working, careful-though-unspectacular jurist whose primary commitment is to the law."
Steele, during his CNN interview, insisted that he was not being inflammatory in his assessment of Obama's Supreme Court pick.
"It's based off of... the inference that she left and what she said," he said, when asked about a similar, earlier critique. "You know, if you have a judge, where you have a situation where you have -- you're going before a trier of fact, and the trier of fact is on record as saying that this individual's background experience is better positioned to make a decision than someone else, that gives one pause. And so my view of it was, in looking at it, you're now segregating out white men by your comments."