Affirmative action positions at center of Sotomayor reaction

May 26, 2009 

Reaction was swift to President Obama's nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court seat being vacated by Justice David Souter. Here's a selection of what various groups said, both pro and con.

MOVEON.ORG — "President Obama's nomination today of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court shows a commitment to add to both the intellectual rigor of the Court and to understanding of the real world impact of Court decisions. MoveOn's 5 million members are excited by the historic nomination of the first Latina to the bench and look forward to hearing more about Judge Sotomayor's opinions on key issues during the nomination process. We plan to work hard to make certain that the Senate quickly confirms her nomination."

LIBERTARIAN PARTY — America's third largest party Tuesday criticized President Barack Obama's nomination of federal appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, citing past rulings that public employers should consider race as a factor in hiring. "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," said William Redpath, Libertarian National Committee Chairman. "By nominating Sonia Sotomayor, Barack Obama has made it clear he prefers an activist for his personal causes over a rational interpreter of law," said Redpath. According to Cato Institute Vice President for Legal Affairs Roger Pilon, Sotomayor is "the most radical of all the frequently mentioned candidates before him."

NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE — "The National Urban League commends President Obama for his decision to nominate Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be the next Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. 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. . . . In evaluating a federal judicial nomination, the National Urban League’s primary concern is whether a nominee's record demonstrates a commitment to upholding civil rights, equality of opportunity and social justice. Our initial review of Judge Sotomayor's record indicates that she meets these criteria."

U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE — "We are pleased that President Obama moved quickly to name a new nominee to the vacancy on the Supreme Court and congratulate Judge Sotomayor on her nomination. In recent years, the Supreme Court has played an increasingly important role in deciding issues that affect the business community and the health of the economy. It is important that the confirmation process focus carefully on the nominee’s views and how they would impact economic growth and Main Street businesses. It is equally important that the next associate justice applies the law without bias."

HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN — "The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today hailed President Obama's selection of Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit as the nominee for the opening on the United States Supreme Court created by the retirement of Justice David Souter. 'We applaud President Obama for choosing Judge Sonia Sotomayor to become our nation's next U.S. Supreme Court Justice,' said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign. 'The U.S. Supreme Court decides cases that intimately affect the lives of all Americans. We are confident that Judge Sotomayor has a demonstrated understanding and commitment to protecting the liberty and equality of all Americans.' The Human Rights Campaign is encouraged by Judge Sotomayor's record of fair-minded decisions. Judge Sotomayor has consistently recognized the constitutional right to privacy, first articulated in Griswold, that lays the foundation for fundamental rights for LGBT people."

INTERFAITH ALLIANCE — Interfaith Alliance President, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, issued the following statement today following President Barack Obama's nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court: "President Obama exercised one of his most important responsibilities today in nominating Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be appointed a justice on the United States Supreme Court. The president's choice of a Hispanic woman as his nominee moves the nation closer to a court that represents the grand diversity of America. Far more important than the nominee's gender and ethnicity, however, is her commitment to the Constitution and determination to respect the inherent rights of every citizen."

NATIONAL COUNCIL OF LA RAZA — NCLR, the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, applauds President Obama's nomination for Supreme Court Justice, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, to succeed retiring Justice David Souter. "Today is a monumental day for Latinos. Finally, we see ourselves represented on the highest court in the land," said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. "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," added Murguia. "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."

FORMER GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MIKE HUCKABEE — "The appointment of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court is the clearest indication yet that President Obama's campaign promises to be a centrist and think in a bi-partisan way were mere rhetoric. Sotomayor comes from the far left and will likely leave us with something akin to the 'Extreme Court' that could mark a major shift. The notion that appellate court decisions are to be interpreted by the 'feelings' of the judge is a direct affront of the basic premise of our judicial system that is supposed to apply the law without personal emotion. If she is confirmed, then we need to take the blindfold off Lady Justice."

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