NYT: Sotomayors Focus on Race Issues May Be Hurdle (laying the groundwork for her withdrawal?)
David Kirkpatrick of the New York Times offers "Sotomayor’s Focus on Race Issues May Be Hurdle" (link). Kremlin watchers are invited to speculate on whether they're trying to get those issues out of the way now, whether they're trying to give her an easy pretext to withdraw, or something else.
Judge Sotomayor, whose parents moved to New York from Puerto Rico, has championed the importance of considering race and ethnicity in admissions, hiring and even judicial selection at almost every stage of her career — as a student activist at Princeton and at Yale Law School, as a board member of left-leaning Hispanic advocacy groups and as a federal judge arguing for diversity on the bench.
John Cornyn is quoted as saying:
"The American ideal is that justice should be colorblind... As we see people like Barack Obama achieve the highest office in the land and Judge Sotomayor’s own nomination to the highest court, I think it is harder and harder to see the justifications for race-conscious decisions across the board... ...This is a hot-button issue and one that needs to be confronted head on."
Whether he actually means that or not remains to be seen. The article quotes those on the other side pointing out that she could provide balance to John Roberts, and it also lists some groups she's been involved with in the past:
At Yale Law School, she was co-chairman of a group for Latin, Asian and Native American students — a catchall group for nonblack minorities. There she led fellow students in meetings with the dean to push for the hiring of more Hispanic faculty members at the law school. And, friends say, she shared the alarm of others in the group when the Supreme Court prohibited the use of quotas in university admissions in its 1978 decision Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.
As a lawyer, she joined the National Council of La Raza and the board of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund (PRLDEF), two Hispanic civil rights groups that advocate for vigorous affirmative action. As a judge, she has repeatedly argued for diversity on the bench by alluding to the insights she gleaned from her Latina background.
Please see the NCLR link directly above for much more on the organization she joined.