Sotomayor Hearings to Be Followed with Special Interest by Hispanic Press

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor

While the whole nation will be watching to see if New York-born judge Sonia Sotomayor becomes the third woman and first Latina on the U.S. Supreme Court, Hispanics will be paying special attention to Sotomayor’s Senate confirmation hearings set to begin Monday.

“It is expected the hearings will send the first Hispanic woman to the highest American court,” wrote Univision.com on Sunday.

“Despite the importance of an event that happens few times throughout the country’s history, tempers are calmer than could be expected,” wrote Los Angeles newspaper La Opinión.

In turn, New York newspaper El Diario/La Prensa showed concern about a “Hate Campaign Against Sotomayor.” The paper said an anti-abortion activist was distributing “a horrifying flyer” outside the Philadelphia Roman Catholic Archdiocese, in which half of Sotomayor’s face “was disfigured as a skull.”

El Diario also ran a story about a study of Sotomayor’s voting record by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, which determined the judge “has not voted as an activist nor as an extremist in the past.”

“We wanted to end the debate over judicial activism, which doesn’t really have substance,” the report’s author, Monica Youn, told the newspaper.

After studying 1,194 decisions issued by the appellate court on which Judge Sotomayor serves, the report determined the judge is ruling “from the center,” Youn added.

The New York Spanish-language newspaper also quoted Latino Justice PRLDEF director César Perales, who defended his organization from charges of radicalism leveled in connection with Sotomayor’s work with the group.

“We will be paying attention (this)week to prevent some senators from using the judge’s collaboration with PRLDEF to disqualify her,” Perales said.

La Opinión reporter –and FI2W contributor– Pilar Marrero signaled in a piece from Washington that “Democrats and legal experts who sympatize (with the judge) are confident that Sotomayor will pass the test, while Republicans note they will be strict but not unfair.”

Michael Torra, a member of Hispanics for More Just Courts, said Republicans will try to center the hearings on a recent Supreme Court decision that reversed a decision by Sotomayor’s court on racial preferences in hiring by the New Haven Fire Department. “They are going to try to say she is extremist because of that decision, but I don’t think that’s going to go far”, he told Marrero.

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