June 3, 2009
MALDEF launches Sotomayor website
@ 2:26 pm by Jeremy P. Jacobs
A Mexican American group has launched a website to organize support for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor and debunk any false attacks made against her.
The site, SotomayorForJustice.com, was launched by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) on Wednesday. It is dedicated to providing information about the confirmation process and refuting any misinformation about the jurist, who would be the first Latina Supreme Court justice.
"MALDEF stands ready to use the website as a public forum to underscore Judge Sotomayor's distinguished achievements and to confront unwarranted attacks on her record and qualifications," Nancy Ramirez, a representative of the group, said in a statement.
Sotomayor has come under fire from conservative circles for a 2001 speech in which she said she "would hope that a wise Latina woman, with the richness of her experiences, would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."
Conservatives have said the quote indicates that Sotomayor's background influences her jurisprudence when she should only be interpreting and following the law.
Sotomayor has since acknowledged that it was a poor choice of words, but has also directed senators to look at the following lines of the speech. In that part of the speech she said: "We should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group…Nine white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues, including Brown," referring to the 1954 case that outlawed school segregation.
The site appears to address that conservative criticism by highlighting this Sotomayor quotation on the website's homepage: "I firmly believe in the rule of law as the foundation for all out basic rights."
MALDEF also noted that it is working with a slew of other Hispanic groups in its aid Sotomayor's confirmation process, including Hispanics for a Fair Judiciary, National Council of La Raza and the Hispanic National Bar Association.
"At this historic moment, we must take immediate action," said MALDEF's Interim president and general counsel Henry Solano.