Friday, May 29, 2009
Apparently finding nothing in nearly two decades of judicial service that is worth attacking, the far right is attempting to smear Judge Sonia Sotomayor by claiming that she is a racist. Such attacks on a minority woman -- and people of color generally -- are all too familiar in national politics. Remember how Professor Lani Guinier was labelled a "quota queen" and withdrew from consideration as head of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division in the Clinton administration.
Anti-immigrant advocates have joined the fray. Glenn Thrush on Politico.Com has the latest on Tommy Tancredo, gone but long from forgotten: "Anti-illegal immigration crusader and former Colorado Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo was on CNN [yesterday] whacking Sonia Sotomayor for her association with the National Council of La Raza, which was listed in a 2000 American Bar Association bio of the judge. `If you belong to an organization called La Raza, in this case... which is from my point of of view any way... nothing more than a ... Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses.'. . . CNN's Rick Sanchez seemed flabbergasted "
Similarly, Americans for Legal Immigration PAC announced yesterday that it "is launching a national campaign today to oppose President Obama's nominee for the US Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor because of her racist comments and her membership in a racist organization called `The Race'." Bill Hing previously reported that Center for Immigration Studies guru Mark Kirkorian basically thinks Judge Sotomayor should have Anglicized her name so he could more easily pronounce it.
For the record, National Council for La Raza, according to its website, is
"the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States – works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. Through its network of nearly 300 affiliated community-based organizations (CBOs), NCLR reaches millions of Hispanics each year in 41 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. To achieve its mission, NCLR conducts applied research, policy analysis, and advocacy, providing a Latino perspective in five key areas – assets/investments, civil rights/immigration, education, employment and economic status, and health. In addition, it provides capacity-building assistance to its Affiliates who work at the state and local level to advance opportunities for individuals and families. Founded in 1968, NCLR is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan, tax-exempt organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCLR serves all Hispanic subgroups in all regions of the country and has operations in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio, and San Juan, Puerto Rico."
The NCLR generally has been viewed as a mainstream group and in recent years has lobbied for comprehensive immigration reform. Cecilia Muñoz, Senior Vice President for NCLR’s Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation, is the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for President Obama.
I hope to soon write a column about Judge Sotomayor's immigration jurispudence, which is by the book. The N.Y. Times today quoted an immigration lawyer today about Judge Sotomayor: H. Raymond Fasano, "a Republican immigration lawyer who has appeared before her 24 times, mostly in asylum cases, and is a fan"; according to Fasano, “`When a judge asks a lot of questions, that means she’s read the record, she knows the issues and she has concerns that she wants resolved. And that’s the judge’s job.'”
When will the smear tactics stop? Has the far right no shame? Why not focus on Judge Sotomayor's decisions as a judge (i.e., the merits)?