Leahy, Reid Stand With Civil Rights Leaders To Discuss Sotomayor

WASHINGTON (Wednesday, July 29, 2009) -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy were joined by Wade Henderson of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Marcia Greenberger of the National Women’s Law Center, and Lillian Rodriguez-Lopez of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda today to discuss the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Earlier this week, the Senate Judiciary Committee recommended Judge Sotomayor for confirmation as our next U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice.  The full Senate is scheduled to debate and vote on Judge Sotomayor’s nomination next week.
“Sonia Sotomayor is an impartial, moderate and mainstream jurist who is equipped with the necessary skills, values and experiences to be a successful Supreme Court Justice,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  “I commend President Obama for his nomination of Judge Sotomayor and ask my Republican colleagues to stand up to their base and demonstrate strong bipartisan support for this accomplished, qualified nominee.”
Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said, “Judge Sotomayor is well qualified; one need look no further than her experience, ability, temperament and judgment.  Independent studies have confirmed that Judge Sotomayor is a fair, impartial, moderate judge who has carefully reviewed the facts of each case presented to her in more than 17 years on the bench.  She has been nominated by three different Presidents, from two political parties. She has spent nearly 30 years in law enforcement, as a prosecutor, as a trial judge, and on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.  There can be no mystery about what kind of Justice Judge Sotomayor will be, and the Senate should overwhelmingly confirm her nomination without delay.”
“Judge Sotomayor’s elevation to the Supreme Court would mark another advance on the equality that this nation has aspired to from its founding. But, even more importantly, it would give Americans a Justice they can be confident will uphold their constitutional values, the rule of law and ensure equal access to justice for all,” said Wade Henderson president of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.
“Judge Sotomayor is a remarkably qualified, gifted and inspiring woman who belongs on the Supreme Court. Now that the Judiciary Committee has approved her nomination, the Senate should confirm her resoundingly and without delay,’’ said Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President of the National Women’s Law Center.
“I want to applaud the 13 members including Senators Leahy and Schumer who placed the emphasis on the important considerations in Judge Sotomayor’s nomination,” said Lillian Rodriguez-Lopez, Chair of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda.  “I would hope that the members of the Senate will send a message of resounding support for Judge Sotomayor to the American people when they vote for confirmation as the next Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.”

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Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor has received support from dozens of civil rights organizations.

“Judge Sotomayor has proven herself to be an outstanding and fair-minded jurist who understands the role courts play in American society.  She will ably serve the nation as a justice on the Supreme Court.”
- Marissa Brown, Vice President of the Alliance for Justice
“Judge Sonia Sotomayor has a proven track record on the bench as someone who understands the connections between disability rights laws like the ADA and other civil rights laws. We strongly urge the Senate to confirm Judge Sotomayor as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.”
-Andrew Imparato, President and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities
“Judge Sotomayor was impressive in her confirmation hearing and her responses were consistent with constitutional values of liberty, equality, and justice that Asian American community supports and believes in. It is clear that she is extremely well qualified to serve on the Court and we strongly urge for the prompt confirmation of Judge Sotomayor.”
-Karen K. Narasaki, President and Executive Director of the Asian American Justice Center
“We are extremely encouraged to see Judge Sotomayor’s nomination moving forward.  Based on her extensive record of decisions in disability rights cases, we believe that she will be a careful and fair Justice who understands and respects the civil rights of people with disabilities and others.”
- Robert Bernstein, Executive Director of the Bazelon Center
“Judge Sonia Sotomayor is committed to following our Constitution’s text and has demonstrated that she has the qualifications, experience, intellect and temperament to serve with great distinction on the Supreme Court. Constitutional Accountability Center urges every senator to support her confirmation.”
-Doug Kendall, President of the Constitutional Accountability Center
“The Supreme Court's recent environmental decisions have been deeply and closely divided.  Judge Sotomayor's record indicates that she will bring to the Court an understanding of the importance and purpose of environmental safeguards, and will uphold, interpret and apply the laws as Congress intended.”
- Glenn Sugameli, Senior Judicial Counsel, Earthjustice
“I am pleased that a majority of Senators recognize Judge Sotomayor’s experience and abilities.  Senator Lindsay Graham deserves special praise for his courage as the only Republican on the committee to cross party lines and vote in favor of Judge Sotomayor.  His remarks preceding the vote demonstrate that he truly approached the confirmation process with an open and independent mind. We are one step closer to history.”
- Ramona Romero, President of the Hispanic National Bar Association.
“We encourage the full Senate to swiftly vote to confirm Judge Sotomayor’s nomination. Senators on both sides of the aisle should focus on Judge Sotomayor’s 17-year-long judicial record which places her well within the mainstream and speaks clearly to her expertise. Any further discussion about Judge Sotomayor as a judicial activist with a liberal agenda must be quelled, for it is neither accurate nor productive.”
-Henry Solano, Interim President, General Counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
“Forty-two years after Thurgood Marshall's historic appointment to the Supreme Court, the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund is pleased to support strongly the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who will be the first Hispanic and the third woman on the Court.  Judge Sotomayor's stellar qualifications, her rich life experiences, and her impeccable record of seventeen years on the federal bench should lead the full Senate to confirm her quickly and by a large margin.”
-Leslie M. Proll, Director of the Washington Office, NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc.
“We are proud to stand with so many Senate leaders and progressive allies in calling for the swift confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor as the next associate justice of the Supreme Court. During the hearings, Judge Sotomayor articulated several times that the constitutional right to privacy includes the right to choose. Her responses to privacy-related questions, along with the strong support she received from key pro-choice allies on the Judiciary Committee, are among the reasons pro-choice Americans are supporting this nomination.”
-Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
“Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings demonstrated her immense knowledge of the law, her thorough understanding of the Constitution and her common-sense understanding of how the law impacts the lives of everyday Americans. She is a superb choice for the Supreme Court and should be confirmed.”
- Sammie Moshenberg, Director of Washington Operations, National Council of Jewish Women
“With today’s vote, the country is one step closer to having a new Supreme Court Justice and our community is one step closer to seeing history made by having the first Hispanic ever on the U.S. Supreme Court.   We commend the Judiciary Committee for its support and we urge Senate leadership to bring her nomination to the floor of the Senate as quickly as possible.”
- Janet Murguía, President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza
“Judge Sotomayor is a unique and well-qualified candidate whose life history, work experience, and well reasoned rulings show beyond any doubt that she is a jurist of great intellect.  We urge the full Senate to confirm her as the 111th justice on the Supreme Court.”
- Debra L. Ness, President of the National Partnership for Women & Families
“Yesterday’s vote moves this historic nominee one step closer to the Supreme Court.  During her hearing, Judge Sotomayor demonstrated over and over again her intelligence, her open-mindedness, and her deep respect for the Constitution and the rule of law.  I’m pleased that already a significant number of Republicans have spoken out in favor of Judge Sotomayor and look forward to seeing her sworn in soon as the first Hispanic and only third woman ever to sit on our nation’s highest court.”
-Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of the People For the American Way

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