Campaigning in Puerto Rico, Mitt Romney is refusing to back off criticism of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
The justice, nominated by President Barack Obama in 2009, is beloved by local Democrats and Republicans as the high court's first member of Puerto Rican descent.
"In looking at Justice Sotomayor, my view was her philosophy is quite different than my own and that's the reason why I would not support her as a justice for the Supreme Court," Romney said. "I would be happy to have a justice of Puerto Rican descent or a Puerto Rican individual on the Supreme Court, but they would have to share my philosophy, that comes first."
The issue puts Romney at odds with a majority of local voters and his most prominent Puerto Rican supporter, Gov. Luis Fortuno. It also underscores the challenges facing Republican candidates as they bring popular conservative rhetoric to an area packed with Hispanic voters ahead of Sunday's GOP president primary.
Beyond Sotomayor, Romney and his rival Rick Santorum have supported the conservative push to formalize English as the official language across the country. In Puerto Rico, an American territory that will vote on its political status, including statehood on Nov. 6, most residents speak Spanish as their primary language.
Santorum made headlines earlier in the week after suggesting that Congress would require Puerto Rico to adopt English as the official language as part of its quest for statehood, a dominant political issue here.
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