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Latino Leaders Welcome Historic Nomination of Latino to Supreme Court

May 26, 2009

Nomination of Sotomayor brings important voice to the Court at a critical time for Latino civil rights

WASHINGTON, DC – Leaders of Hispanics for a Fair Judiciary welcomed President Barack Obama’s leadership in naming Circuit Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace retiring Justice David Souter, making her the first Hispanic to ever be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The history-making nomination of Judge Sotomayor smashes another barrier that has stood in the way of Hispanic Americans’ full participation in the life of our country,” said Dr. Gabriela Lemus, Executive Director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement and Chair of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda. “The President deserves praise for working to make a Hispanic voice heard in the exclusive chambers of our nation’s the highest court.”

“This is an historic, significant and meaningful nomination,” said Henry Solano, Interim President and General Counsel of MALDEF and former U.S. Attorney for Colorado. “At a time when the Hispanic community is at the heart of a number of highly politicized issues and faces attacks on our civil liberties, having a Latino on the Supreme Court provides a crucial perspective that will inform the court’s consideration of such cases,”

“I believe that Sonia Sotomayor will be a Justice that our community will be proud of,” said Walter Tejada, Arlington (Virginia) County Board Member. “The Senate must now perform its constitutional duty and proceed with the confirmation process in a fair and timely manner.”

“President Obama has demonstrated bold leadership in nominating the first Hispanic to the Supreme Court. Justice Sotomayor will serve as a role model to all Latinos, especially those entering the legal profession, knowing that their own aspirations to serve our country in the highest positions of the judicial branch can be achieved.” said Maria Cardona, a founding member of Hispanics for a Fair Judiciary. “We look forward to supporting this nomination and working with the Administration to address the under-representation of Latinos on our circuit courts.”

Among the federal circuit courts’ 179 judicial positions, only 12 are occupied by Hispanics. 15 seats are currently vacant.

“PODER PAC joins Hispanics for a Fair Judiciary in congratulating President Obama on this historic nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the nation’s highest court. Judge Sotomayor has a proven track record of experience and a career that spans over three decades. Her life and judicial experience make her a nominee that will bring compassion and passion in her ability to interpret the law and to be an impartial jurist. We celebrate and commend this historic appointment,” said Ingrid Duran, Co-Chair of PODER PAC.

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Hispanics for a Fair Judiciary (HFJ) was formed in April 2005 in order to provide Hispanic leaders across the nation a platform and voice in matters related to our nation's judicial system. HFJ is an unaffiliated, non-partisan, independent network of elected officials, legal, civil rights, labor, academic and political leaders who care deeply about the impact that the Supreme Court has on the Latino community.

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