The reaction from groups across the political spectrum is flooding in to the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.
Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America: “President Obama has selected a nominee with a distinguished record of professional accomplishments as a judge, prosecutor, and community leader. This impressive personal biography signals that she possesses an understanding of how the law affects everyday people’s lives,” Keenan said. “We are encouraged by the strong support she receives from her peers and other legal scholars and the fact that the Senate has twice confirmed her for federal judgeships. We look forward to learning more about Judge Sotomayor’s views on the right to privacy and the landmark Roe v. Wade decision as the Senate’s hearing process moves forward.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List: “Women are best protected by the rule of law – and blind justice. Their rights are most endangered when personal preference, ideology or painful personal history inform judgment. Susan B. Anthony and her early feminist compatriots fought for a human rights standard sustained only through blind justice. When evidence of personal preference appears in any Supreme Court nominee’s judgment, it should give all women pause. Given what we know about Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s own judicial philosophy – including her support of policymaking from the bench – Americans should be concerned about the role of personal preference in her overall judicial philosophy. When it comes to protecting all human life, one group is never served by undermining the rights of another. Women will never be served by ignoring the rights of unborn children. Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s record of support for judicial activism offers little comfort that she will be a friend to the unborn on the Supreme Court. As the Senate fulfills its Constitutional role to ‘advise and consent,’ Senators should ask the hard questions to thoroughly assess Sotomayor’s judicial temperament, and reaffirm the authentic feminist standard of blind justice for all.”
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney: "America’s workers applaud the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court. She is a brilliant jurist and in her distinguished career has worked at almost every level of our judicial system - as a prosecutor, litigator, trial court and appellate judge – and would bring more federal judicial experience to the Supreme Court than any justice in 100 years. Judge Sotomayor will also bring to the Supreme Court a direct and personal understanding of the struggles America’s workers endure every day. She grew up in public housing in the Bronx, the daughter of a factory worker, and understands the real world consequences of the decisions she makes from the bench. Judge Sotomayor’s record reflects an understanding of the law’s impact on working families and has consistently interpreted our labor laws in the manner in which they were intended. In the baseball strike of 1995, she recognized that the owners had forced the strike by engaging in unlawful conduct, and issued an injunction which reversed the unlawful acts. 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. She has recognized that persecution for union activity can be a basis for granting asylum in this country. Judge Sotomayor is a bipartisan choice – she was initially appointed to the bench by President George H.W. Bush and has previously been confirmed by the Senate – we urge the Senate to swiftly confirm her to the Supreme Court."
Representative Nydia Velazquez, chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus: "Judge Sotomayor brings with her the experience, discipline, integrity, commitment and intellectual prowess she has cultivated throughout an extensive career. She has consistently demonstrated a balanced, clear-minded respect for our laws and our Constitution. She embodies our shared belief that, if you are talented and willing to work hard, the American dream is within reach. Throughout her life, she has overcome a series of challenges, leaving the Bronx housing projects to graduate summa cum laude from Princeton University and receive her law degree from Yale. We look forward to working with her and the White House to ensure a fair and smooth confirmation process."
William Redpath, Libertarian National Committee chairman: “While Judge Sotomayor deserves a fair and impartial hearing, Supreme Court justices should be nominated for their thorough knowledge of and adherence to the Constitution and the rule of law. By nominating Sonia Sotomayor, Barack Obama has made it clear he prefers an activist for his personal causes over a rational interpreter of law. It is troubling that Obama, who won the highest elected office in the world without racial preferences, would nominate someone who openly admits the government should racially discriminate against its own citizens to serve the needs of political correctness. Libertarians believe that, while the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of association allows private parties to hire whomever they please, government has no right to discriminate. Public employers should treat all citizens of all colors, races and ethnicities with equal respect and value and Sotomayor’s radical rulings are a jarring departure from that principle.”
Janet Murguía, CEO and president of the National Council of La Raza: “Today is a monumental day for Latinos. Finally, we see ourselves represented on the highest court in the land. Judge Sotomayor’s story personifies the American Dream for so many Latinos in this country. By nominating someone with the experience, background, and superb legal credentials of Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama has made an excellent choice for the entire country. The President wanted a justice who not only is a respected jurist, but also understands how the law affects the lives of everyday people. Judge Sotomayor embodies those qualities. We commend President Obama for making this historic appointment and for recognizing that excellence and diversity are not mutually exclusive.”
Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice: "Alliance for Justice is thrilled with this choice. Sonia Sotomayor will be a strong voice to uphold the Constitution and the law to provide equal justice and protect personal freedoms for everyone in America, regardless of wealth, status, or popularity. President Obama has nominated a highly qualified candidate with a compelling personal story and outstanding educational credentials. The president is making history by nominating the first Latina to the Supreme Court. Judge Sotomayor has more federal judicial experience than any justice nominated to the Supreme Court in the past 100 years. Judges make a huge difference in our lives. Courts protect our air and water, hold corporations accountable, ensure equal opportunity and fair pay, and safeguard our personal freedoms. 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."
Ira N. Forman, CEO of the National Jewish Democratic Council: "NJDC welcomes President Barack Obama’s selection of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy. With the selection of Sotomayor, Obama has shown sound judgment and profound respect for our nation’s highest court by selecting an individual who has strong credentials, is highly regarded, and is committed to our constitutional values, rights, and liberties. We are also proud of Obama’s commitment to have the Supreme Court reflect America’s rich and diverse population, by selecting the first Hispanic justice. More importantly, the President’s nominee has the intellectual capacity and real world experience to be a world class justice. We applaud this selection and expect the nomination of Sotomayor to receive Senate confirmation in a timely manner."
Larry Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch: "While I would have liked to see a more conservative libertarian type on the high court, President Obama's selection of New York federal appeals court Judge Sonia Sotomayer, was a very prudent and wise decision from a far left liberal like Obama. Having initially been appointed to the bench by President George H. W. Bush, soon to be justice Sotomayer has previously pledged to follow the Constitution, and not legislate from the bench, and her career as a federal court judge suggests, as a whole, that this is the way she will administer to the law. It is also great to have a highly qualified Latina on the bench. The Latin culture, with its emphasis on family and family values, will be a welcome addition, as an understanding of real life relationships is important for any jurist. And, as the largest minority in the United States, its time that Latins can take pride that they too are now part of the legal system. On behalf of Freedom Watch and the American people, we wish Justice Sotomayer much success."
Tim Kaine, Democratic National Committee chairman: “Nominating a justice to the Supreme Court of the United States is one of a President’s most serious responsibilities. Today, President Obama announced an outstanding nominee in Sonia Sotomayor. Her experience in the American judicial system, coupled with her inspiring life story and fierce intellect, make her uniquely qualified to serve on the nation’s highest court. Sonia Sotomayor was born and raised in a public housing project in the South Bronx to immigrant parents of Puerto Rican descent. Sotomayor’s mother instilled in her a belief in the power of a good education and driven by that belief, Sotomayor graduated with the highest honors from Princeton University and Yale Law School.Sotomayor has worked at nearly every level of the American judicial system for the past three decades: as a district attorney prosecuting violent crimes, as a corporate litigator working on complex commercial cases, as a federal district judge, and most recently, as a judge on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. She has been lauded as a fearless jurist, with a sharp and independent mind and a deep commitment to the rule of law and our constitutional traditions. In every way imaginable, Sonia Sotomayor has lived the American dream. She will be the Court’s first Latina, its third woman, and the only Justice on the current court with experience as a trial judge. I commend President Obama on his choice and congratulate Judge Sotomayor on her nomination."
Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United: "Catholics United welcomes President Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. We admire Judge Sotomayor's reputation of putting aside political beliefs in order to issue sound legal decisions, her commitment to religious liberty, and her significant federal judicial experience. These are precisely the qualities that Catholics look for in those we trust to interpret the law. In addition to her distinguished professional career, Judge Sotomayor's own personal experience makes her uniquely suited to serve our nation in this important position. She has a first-hand understanding of the plights of America's immigrants and working families, having been born to Puerto Rican parents and raised in a housing project in the South Bronx. When confirmed, Judge Sotomayor will be the first Hispanic to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. We wholeheartedly embrace this move toward a judiciary that better represents the diversity of the American people. We call on other leaders within the Catholic community to join us in welcoming Judge Sotomayor's nomination and to approach her confirmation hearings with civility and reason."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.