Momentum for Sotomayor Confirmation Builds


5-28-09, 9:08 am

After the announcement of President Obama's nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace Justice David Souter on the US Supreme Court, a broad array of organizations and advocacy groups expressed strong support for the decision.

At the announcement at the White House on Tuesday, May 26th, President Obama cited Sotomayor's vast experience at all levels of the legal system, her 'rigorous intellect,' and her 'commitment to impartial justice' as defining characteristics that helped him make this decisions.

The President also detailed Sotomayor's background. Raised in a poor household, an immigrant family from the South Bronx, Sotomayor, as she says herself, stood on the shoulders of many people: her family, her teachers and her mentors.

'When Sonia Sotomayor ascends those marble steps to assume her seat on the highest court of the land, America will have taken another important step towards realizing the ideal that is etched above its entrance: equal justice under the law,' President Obama stated.

Her wealth of experience, legal knowledge and commitment to justice earned Judge Sotomayor much praise this week.

For example, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney cited her role in the 1995 baseball strike. In issuing an injunction in that case, Judge Sotomayor forced the Major League baseball team owners to reverse their actions in causing the strike. 'She has enforced the rights of all workers to be free of all types of discrimination at work, to be paid the correct wages and to receive health benefits to which they are entitled,' Sweeney noted. 'She has recognized that persecution for union activity can be a basis for granting asylum in this country.'

Describing the President's nomination of Sotomayor as 'good day for the federal judiciary, and for our nation,' Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families, stated, 'A sharp, tough and unflaggingly fair jurist, Judge Sotomayor’s qualifications are beyond dispute, and her legal and judicial experience will be unmatched on the Court.'

Praising the President's choice, Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), told supporters on a national teleconference on May 27th that 'Judge Sotomayor is uniquely, well-qualified as a Supreme Court nominee, someone with a sharp and independent mind, and a record of excellence and integrity.'

Janet Murguía, president of the National Council of La Raza, called the selection of Judge Sotomayor as a 'monumental breakthrough.' Her story represents the 'American dream' for so many people of all backgrounds, Murguía said. 'President Obama has made the right choice for the entire country.'

For some, the historic nomination of Sotomayor and her likely confirmation suggested that America as a whole has made much progress. Susan L. Taylor, editor-in-chief emeritus of Essence Magazine, remarked, “The United States is becoming the nation it ought to be. Sonia Sotomayor's success is a shining example of what is possible for our young living in poverty and filling up prisons.”

League of Women Voters President Mary G. Wilson echoed the sentiment, saying, 'It is a time to celebrate our nation’s diversity and differences. The nomination of the first Latina and the third woman to the country’s highest court is cause for all Americans to be proud.'

In addition to achieving these democratic ideals, Sotomayor's qualifications make her a common sense pick, others indicated. 'This nomination shows that President Obama is appointing judges who understand that the role of the courts is to give everyone a chance to be heard, to stand up for their rights, and get justice,' added Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron in a press statement.

Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, noted, 'Judge Sotomayor appears to be an eminently qualified judge with the intellectual heft, strong record and common touch that is needed in a Supreme Court justice. We believe the President has made an outstanding choice.'

National Organization for Women President Kim Gandy praised Sotomayor's qualifications. 'Judge Sotomayor will serve the nation with distinction. She brings a lifelong commitment to equality, justice and opportunity, as well as the respect of her peers, unassailable integrity, and a keen intellect informed by experience,' she said.

Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, president of the Skinner Leadership Institute and member of NCBCP Black Women’s Roundtable, praised the President's choice and said of Judge Sotomayor, 'she ... embodies the kind of level headed sensitivity to the pressing needs of ordinary citizens that is so critical for justices today.”

Judge Sotomayor's nomination won approval as well from environmental groups such as the Sierra Club. That organization's executive director, Carl Pope, praised Sotomayor's legal opinions in environmental cases. Specifically, he cited two important cases where 'she ruled in favor of environmental protection and against attempts by the government to ignore true environmental benefits when enforcing clean water laws.'

At least one of her opinions 'set the stage for the action finally being taken now by the federal government to begin curbing global warming pollution,' Pope added.

The Coalition for Constitutional Values, a national coalition of public interest organizations, has launched a campaign in support of Sotomayor's confirmation. It has begun airing TV ads to help introduce Judge Sotomayor to the public and to urge speedy confirmation.

See the first TV ad here: