07/09/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Sotomayor: A Strong Choice for Supreme Court

President Barack Obama showed sound judgment and profound
respect for our nation's highest court by selecting an individual who has impeccable
credentials and is committed to our constitutional values, rights, and

Judge Sonia Sotomayor brings not only a distinguished legal
background to the Supreme Court, but a wealth of common sense understanding of
how the law affects everyday life. Sotomayor has been called "a uniquely
well-qualified Supreme Court nominee, someone with a sharp and independent
mind, and a record of excellence and integrity"
by the
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. (Click
to tell the Senate
that you agree.)

When Sotomayor's nomination was made official in the East
Room of the White House last month, numerous Jewish organizations were in
attendance, including the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC). We were
proud to be there and be a part of this historic moment. Many leading Jewish
groups, in addition to NJDC, have praised
the Sotomayor
nomination and her strong credentials, including the American Jewish Committee
(AJC), Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA),
Orthodox Union (OU), and Religious Action Center (RAC). Richard Foltin,
Legislative Director of AJC, said to JTA, "there's no question of her
impressive qualifications."
The ADL released a statement declaring that
Sotomayor "will undoubtedly bring an important new perspective to the work
of the Court."
Within our community, a consensus has developed: Sotomayor
will be a welcome addition to the Supreme Court.

If confirmed, Sotomayor would bring more federal judicial
experience to the Supreme Court than any justice in 100 years, and more overall
judicial experience than anyone confirmed to the Court in the past 70 years.
She has been a prosecutor, a corporate litigator, and a now a federal judge for
the last 17 years.

Sotomayor's quintessential American story and strong legal
career provide her with unique qualifications to be the next Supreme Court
justice. Former Chief Judge of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals Jon Newman said
Sotomayor "is everything one would want in a first-rate judge." Her ascent to
the federal bench from an upbringing in a South Bronx
housing project is an inspiration, in and of itself.

Support for Sotomayor's judicial career has transcended
political lines. Before she was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
Second Circuit by President Bill Clinton in 1997, and confirmed by the Senate
in 1998, she was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District
of New York by President George H.W. Bush in 1991 and confirmed unanimously by
the Senate.

It has been disappointing that leading Republicans have
taken the nomination of Sotomayor as an opportunity to launch nasty attacks on
her character and question if she really has what it takes to serve on our
highest court. They ignore the fact that she was first appointed to the federal
courts by a Republican president. It is one thing to stand against a nominee on
ideological grounds, and another still to do so on partisan grounds. But when
Republicans depict
Sotomayor as a racist they go beyond the
pale. Although there are some in the GOP who sanely call on their colleagues to
"refrain from calling Sonia Sotomayor a racist," Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has " condemn [these]
controversial comments."
And then there are the absurd Republican attacks that Sotomayor is somehow an
"intellectual lightweight." Her academic qualifications are impeccable and she
is at least as intellectually qualified or even more so than any justice
sitting on the bench today. Sotomayor's 20 years of service in the federal
courts exceeds comparable experience of anyone recently nominated. This kind of
rhetoric and these spineless attacks are inexcusable.

The President believes it is important for the Senate to
vote and confirm Sotomayor before the August recess, to allow the new justice
time to prepare and participate when the Court confers this fall and selects
cases to be heard for the upcoming term. I agree.
The ridiculous
Sotomayor bashing must stop. Republicans and Democrats should work together to
review Sotomayor's record and work towards a confirmation this summer.

Crossposted on Talking Points Memo.

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