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Key Latino Groups Launch Effort to Protect Sotomayor Nomination From Vicious Attacks

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As the rhetoric around Judge Sotomayor's nomination heats up, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) in partnership with the broad Hispanics for a Fair Judiciary coalition has launched a website, Sotomayor For Justice, to counter the misinformation and backwards logic behind opposition to this historic nomination. The website comes at a perfect time; the right has thus far done a solid job of poisoning what should be a well-informed discussion on the importance of the judiciary, and the role it plays in all of our lives.

While some Senate leaders appear to be preparing for a thorough and respectful examination of Sotomayor's extensive federal judicial career, extremist commentators and elected officials on the right continue to try and derail the nomination with accusations of racism and comparisons to the KKK, and claims that she would bring bias into her decision-making in favor of Latinos. What is worse, notwithstanding the hateful remarks they make, many in the media continue to provide these individuals the platform to spread their ignorance. Never mind that Judge Sotomayor is a brilliant, qualified jurist with great respect for the rule of law and firm commitment to upholding the values enshrined in our Constitution. Never mind that she the most experienced judge to ever be nominated for the nation's high court. And never mind that among the federal circuit courts' 179 judicial positions, only 12 are occupied by Latinos.

Whether its to fill their coffers, or simply to foment greater hostility to the current administration, the right-wing talking heads and elected officials are using this moment to trash a well-respected and intelligent woman, and the country's fastest growing voter base. Hispanics for a Fair Judiciary has put together a strong coalition but has a lot of work to do to set the record straight. To see how bad things have gotten one need only look at the recent cartoon in the Oklahoman depicting Judge Sotomayor strung up like a piñata at a lynching. I only hope that the media and others start paying attention to the real issues at stake in this nomination.

And when this is all done, those that have viciously attacked and ridiculed Judge Sotomayor should be held accountable, both at the voting booth and through pulled corporate sponsorships for their hate speech on TV, print and radio.