Category Archives: political nominatiosn

Sonia Sotomayor Confirmed

sotomayor 2 Sonia Sotomayor has been confirmed! She will be confirmed this Saturday and will be the first Latina ever on the Supreme Court and only the third woman. While I would like to write more about this, it will have to wait. Maybe I’ll do a roundup of coverage a bit later – for now, here’s some linkage.

The Boston Globe – Sotomayor Makes History

The New York Times – For Puerto Ricans, Sotomayor’s Success stirs Pride

The Washington Post – Senate Confirms Sotomayor to Supreme Court

Race-colored Glasses: Seeing what’s there

So I know my coverage of the Sotomayor nomination has been scant, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not following it! Below is a great post by my colleague, Sally Kohn, about why we shouldn’t shy away from the topic of race in the Sotomayor hearings. For more analysis of the confirmation hearings, you can also check out a great New York Times editorial from yesterday. And, I have included the much-watched video of Rachel Maddow reading Pat Buchanan the riot act on his statements about Sotomayor. And now, the video where she basically tears his argument to shreds.
you can check it out here.

originally published at the Huffington Post

Instead of sidestepping the conversation on race and trying to change the topic, we should use this as our own teachable moment for ourselves and the nation. Instead of criticizing Judge Sotomayor for seeing race in America, we should be asking: Why don’t the rest of us?

The area of the South Bronx where Sonia Sotomayor grew up, in the poorest urban county in the United States, is predominantly African American and Latino. In the Bronx, African American and Latino children are more likely to be arrested and tried as adults than White kids who commit the same acts, even though kids of color are ultimately found innocent at higher rates than White kids. The average household income is $29,000; a few miles away in mostly-White Manhattan, it’s $56,000. Only 16% of Bronx adults have gone to college; in Manhattan it’s 57%. Less than 20% of Bronx families own their home, one of the lowest homeownership rates in the country. In the 1990s, New York City unilaterally relocated sewage treatment facilities and waste transfer stations to the Hunts Point section of the Bronx. Rates of diabetes, heart disease and obesity are far greater in the South Bronx than in comparable, White communities.

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Sotomayor’s Opening Statement

For those of you who didn’t get to check out the first day of Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings, below is her opening statement. For more videos, check out America’s Voice.

Sotomayor Confirmation Hearings Begin Today

sotomayor poster

Today marks the first day of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor.

Tune into the LIVE hearings here.

And for more on these hearings and the attacks on the Latina nominee, check out the America’s Voice blog.

Hearings to Confirm Sotomayor will start in July

sotomayor poster

According to today’s NY Times, confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor will begin July 13th. We all know her nomination has been surrounded in controversy – mostly from the usual crowd of extremists, but here’s to hoping her confirmation goes smoothly.

Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT), the chairman of the confirmation panel, says that the confirmation process could be over and done with as soon as the close of session in August. That is,

…unless some people put up the kind of obstacles that were not raised for the confirmation of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. four years ago.

Let’s be honest, the anti-Latino, reverse racism crying crowd are certainly going to be raising obstacles, but let’s hope the process is rooted in Sotomayor’s voting record, which incidentally has gotten fairly little media coverage. Take action and sign the petition from NCLR to RNC Chairman Michael Steele to stop the attacks on Latinos and Sotomayor.

Props to Favianna Rodriguez, the artist behind the lovely poster at the top of this post.

ACTION: Sign the Petition to Stop the Smear Campaign against Sotomayor and NCLR

So we all knew that the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor would bring the extreme attacks from the usual crowd. What we didn’t know is exactly how far they would go.

Last week, Tom Tancredo (the ever-present anti-immigrant xenophobe from Colorado) called the National Council of La Raza (who Sotomayor is affiliated with) “‘a Latino KKK without the hoods and the nooses”. This attack on NCLR, which is a Latino advocacy organization that does great work to aid in education and civil rights for Latinos and people of color in the United States, is based solely on the inclusion of “La Raza” (the race) in their title.

From NCLR:

This outburst was reprehensible not only to Hispanics and communities of color, but to all Americans who want to put this ugly chapter of our history behind us.

Check out the video below to see Janet Murguia, the president and CEO of the NCLR, respond to Tancredo’s outrageous claims.

Help stop the smear campaign against Sotomayor and NCLR by signing THIS PETITION to Chairman Michael Steele of the RNC to condemn these statements as soon as possible.

And, for the record, from TPM:

literal translation [of La Raza]  is “The Race” (according to their Web site, other possibilities include “the people” and “the community”) and in the full linguistic context it refers essentially to advancing the civil rights and economic opportunities of Latinos. As a comparison, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People does not propose to oppress non-blacks, and the American Jewish Committee doesn’t aim to keep the Gentiles down.

And, as a Latin American Studies student, I know that “La Raza” comes from “La Raza Cosmica”, a term coined by Jose Vasconcelos, a Mexican intelectual in an essay from 1925. Vasconcelos’ notion of the “cosmic race” was the combination of various races and ethnicities into one “cosmic” people or community. His term actually blurs racial lines, as opposed to sharpening them. Maybe this should be some required reading for Mr. Tancredo…

Question on Sotomayor: What does Obama’s SCOTUS Nomination have to do with Immigration Reform?


This morning I was reading all the commentary that is rolling in about how Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor is a move to “buy time” on immigration reform for the administration. And, frankly, I think that folks are wrong about this. Below is an excellent post from Frank Sherry at America’s Voice about exactly why reform will move forward, regardless of Sotomayor and the attention her nomination is garnering.

Originally posted at America’s Voice and cross-posted at the Huffington Post:

Question on Sotomayor: What does Obama’s SCOTUS Nomination have to do with Immigration Reform?

Answer: Nada.

Well, almost nothing. To watch the coverage on mainstream news and in the blogosphere one might think exactly the opposite, however.

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Obama Speaks about the Sotomayor Nomination

Check out this video from the Obama camp that features the Prez discussing his announcement of Sonia Sotomayor as the nominee for the next Supreme Court Justice.

Two New Immigration Appointees

olavarria1On Monday, Janet Napolitano named Esther Olavarria as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for policy, a role that will focus on immigration. We applaud Napolitano’s choice of Olavarria, who worked closely with Sen. Ted Kennedy to fight for immigrants and was a major architect of  comprehensive immigration reform efforts in recent years.

Esther Olavarria brings nearly 20 years of experience on immigration policy to her new job at the Department of Homeland Security. Most recently, she was a Senior Fellow and Director of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress, where she was responsible for planning, developing and administering the organization’s work on immigration issues, with a principal focus on policy and advocacy strategies on comprehensive immigration reform; planning and convening roundtables and other venues for discussion, and conducting research and write on immigration issues.

Also, on Monday, Obama tapped John Morton to be the Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Morton is a career prosecutor with lengthy experience in immigration enforcement and criminal prosecution.

Gillibrand’s Appointment Disappointing

gillibrand1Today NY Governor David Paterson announced that he will appoint Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand to the U.S. Senate to replace Hillary Clinton. The announcement comes after weeks of speculation regarding the possible appointment of Caroline Kennedy.

So, what does this appointement mean? Well for us folks that are working tirelessly for immigrants’ rights – it means yet another obstacle. Gillibrand’s record on immigration is pretty dismal and her appointment is extremely disappointing. She believes in “enforcing the laws already on the books” (aka staying the course even though the system is broken), “securing our borders” (aka the ridiculous border wall and hopped up security that leads to things like this ) and the SAVE act.

Just to give you a small idea, NumbersUSA – the nativist “think tank” – gives her a high grade for her voting record. We expected better from Paterson, who’s state is one of the most pro-immigrant constituencies in the country.

Our partners, the New York Immigration Coalition, released a statement shortly after the appointment. While they acknowledged Gillibrand’s negative record on immigration, they also opened the door for improvement:

At a time when Congress has a clear mandate to fix our broken immigration system, we don’t need rhetoric that divides us, pitting immigrant workers against native-born workers; we need solutions that bring us together and make America stronger. We hope that in her new position representing the state as a whole, Senator Gillibrand will be a strong advocate for just and humane immigration reform, devising a practical and realistic solution to bringing undocumented immigrants into the system and reforming our immigration system so that it is fairer to all.