Sotomayor-advised group opposed Bork
WASHINGTON - A Puerto Rican civil rights organization advised by Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor campaigned against seating conservative Robert Bork on the high court in the late 1980s, according to new documents that shed light on the group that’s become a key focus of Republicans questioning Sotomayor’s fitness to be a justice.
The Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund officially opposed GOP nominee Bork in 1987, “because of the threat he poses to the civil rights of the Latino community,’’ its president reported in one of several documents from the group that the Senate Judiciary Committee released yesterday.
The 350-plus pages of material offer little evidence, however, about Sotomayor’s role in the cases and causes the organization, now known as LatinoJustice PRLDEF, took up while she served on its board from 1980 until 1992.
Republicans have criticized Sotomayor’s participation in the group, which they say has taken radical positions and sought to gain racial preferences for Hispanics. They argue her ties to the group, taken together with Sotomayor’s statements about how her heritage shapes her views as a judge, raise doubts about whether she can be an impartial, colorblind justice. Democrats counter that the group is a mainstream civil rights organization whose advocacy on behalf of the racial minority it represents is entirely appropriate.
Coleman’s departure comes two months after the GOP’s other Jewish member, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, switched parties to become a Democrat. Coleman conceded his long-contested race with Democratic challenger Al Franken Tuesday after the Minnesota Supreme Court rejected Coleman’s legal challenge.
Republicans have had at least one Jewish senator since New York’s Jacob Javits took office in 1957, reaching a peak of three during the mid-1980s.
In the 435-member House, Eric Cantor of Virginia is the only Jewish Republican and has risen quickly since he took office in 2001 to become the second-ranking Republican in the 435-member body. Eight Jewish GOP members served in the House during the 1990s.
There are currently 29 Democrats in the House who list their religion as Jewish. The Senate will have 13 Jewish members as of next week when Franken is sworn in - 11 Democrats and two Independents who normally vote with the Democrats.
Ira Forman, the chief executive of the National Jewish Democratic Council, said the sharp drop in the number of Jewish Republicans in Congress paralleled the party’s shift to the right. “It’s a reflection of where the Republican Party has gone,’’ he said. “It’s left the Jewish community pretty cold.’’
Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, disagreed, saying “you will see and are seeing Jewish Republicans winning elections all across the country’’ at the state and local level.
America lags behind more than a dozen other countries in terms of Internet access and that has to change, Biden told about 200 people at Seneca High School , about 12 miles east of Erie. “The bottom line is, you can’t function - a nation can’t compete in the 21st century - without an immediate, high-quality access,’’ Biden said.
“We believe we are in the “Getting broadband to every American is a priority for this administration.’’