In a letter sent to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D–VT) and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R–AL), NCLR (National Council of La Raza,) the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S., gave strong support for the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor as a Supreme Court Justice. NCLR’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to endorse Sotomayor who, if confirmed, would be the first Hispanic to serve on the nation’s highest court.
In the letter, NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía stated, “Given her extraordinary life story, her experience, her reputation for excellence, and her continuing connection to the Latino community, we urge her prompt confirmation by the Senate.”
Full text of the letter follows: On behalf of NCLR ( National Council of La Raza)—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—I write in support of the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. Our recommendation comes after a thorough and careful review of her qualifications and decades-long record as an attorney and judge.
First, we noted her compelling life story. As cited in the official White House biography of Judge Sotomayor:
"She grew up in a public housing project in the South Bronx…Her father, a factory worker with a third-grade education, died when Sotomayor was nine years old. Her mother, a nurse, raised Sotomayor and her younger brother Juan, now a physician in Syracuse…Sotomayor graduated as valedictorian of her class at Blessed Sacrament and at Cardinal Spellman High School in New York…At Princeton, she continued to excel, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa…At Yale Law School, Judge Sotomator served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal…”
Second, we considered her experience. Judge Sotomayor has worked as an Assistant District Attorney and an attorney in private practice, and in 1992 she was appointed to the U.S. District Court by President George H. W. Bush. In 1998, President Bill Clinton appointed Judge Sotomayor to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Third, we assessed her performance. Judge Sotomayor has earned a reputation for excellence at each stage of her career. New York City District Attorney Robert Morgenthau praised her in The Wall Street Journal as “highly qualified for any position in which wisdom, intelligence, collegiality and good character could be assets.” Colleagues on the Second Circuit, appointed by Republican and Democratic presidents alike, have called her “thoughtful,” “fair,” and “careful.” And just this week, the American Bar Association, which has traditionally evaluated the integrity, professional competence, and judicial temperament of potential Supreme Court justices, unanimously gave Judge Sotomayor its highest rating.
Finally, we examined her connection to her community. Judge Sotomayor has been extremely active in community service activities, including through her participation in New York City’s Development School for Youth, service on the Board of Directors of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, and membership as an individual associate of NCLR.
Overall, we concluded that Judge Sotomayor is undoubtedly qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. If confirmed, she would have more experience as a federal Appellate Court judge than any of the current Supreme Court justices had at the time of their appointments.
Given her extraordinary life story, experience, reputation for excellence, and continuing connection to the Latino community, NCLR’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to endorse Judge Sotomayor’s nomination. We urge her prompt confirmation by the Senate.