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Pressure Is on Obama to Name First Hispanic Supreme Court Justice
Law.com ^ | 12-1-08 | Tony Mauro

Posted on 11/28/2008 11:11:14 AM PST by stan_sipple

For eight years of Clinton, then eight years of Bush, Carlos Ortiz has waited. With the election of Obama, Ortiz hopes -- trusts -- he will have to wait no more to see his dream realized: the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice.

"What more unifying appointment could there be than a Hispanic justice?" asks Ortiz, who began his campaign in 1987 as a board member, then as president, of the Hispanic National Bar Association and later as chair of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. "It's not just the right thing to do, but we deserve it. I can't imagine that the next appointment will go to someone other than a Hispanic."

Encouraged by President-elect Barack Obama's talk of inclusiveness, and emboldened by the importance of the Hispanic vote to Obama's victory -- two-thirds of Hispanics voted for him -- Hispanic groups are cautiously hopeful that finally the time has come for a justice with a Latino background.

Almost every list of possible Obama nominees to the high court includes Hispanics -- most notably Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. But others who are mentioned include: Judge Kim Wardlaw of the 9th Circuit (her mother was Mexican), U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo of Chicago, California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno, and even two Democratic U.S. senators -- Ken Salazar of Colorado and Robert Menendez of New Jersey.

But Ortiz and other Hispanic legal leaders are reluctant to name names themselves, not wanting to spoil their chances and also, seemingly, bracing themselves for disappointment yet again. They know that unpredictable variables of timing and politics can turn a sure-bet candidate -- or ethnic group -- into an also-ran overnight.

President Bill Clinton was lobbied hard to name a Hispanic, and President George W. Bush's early list of possible candidates was heavy with Hispanic names, many from his Texas days. Ortiz met with then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to press the issue, but Gonzales' assurances turned out to be "lip service," as Ortiz puts it now. When the vacancies finally arose, other factors, both political and ideological, took precedence over naming a Hispanic to the high court.

"It was a lack of will, a lack of commitment," says current HNBA president Ramona Romero. "It was not because of the absence of qualified candidates."

This time, she says, "there is an enormous sense of urgency" behind making sure the opportunity is not lost during a Barack Obama presidency. She is assembling a committee, including Ortiz, to contact and vet possible candidates for a Supreme Court nomination, so that "we will be ready."

On Nov. 14, Romero wrote a letter to Obama urging him to "make history yet again" by nominating a Hispanic justice, thereby erasing the "unfortunate message" conveyed by a Supreme Court with no Hispanic members. "The presence of a Latino or Latina at the conference table could add a needed 'special voice' to the Supreme Court's deliberations and decisions -- a voice that can speak about the law as it affects U.S. Hispanics with the authority that only firsthand knowledge can provide."

John Trasvina, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, also has high hopes. "We will have a president who understands the Latino community," says Trasviña, who notes that in 1995 Obama, then an associate in Judson Miner's Chicago law firm, worked with MALDEF on a voter registration case.

Add to that the growing number and stature of Hispanic lawyers, says Trasvina, and it will be hard to explain not appointing a Latino justice at some point. "We've got a deeper talent pool than ever before," he says.

But these leaders also point out that their goals reach beyond naming a justice with a Hispanic name or heritage. "Being Hispanic doesn't always mean that you are grounded in the culture," says Romero. Evidence of some connection with the Hispanic community, and an understanding of its culture and concerns, will be important in assessing candidates, says Romero.

Trasvina agrees. "Beyond the symbolism, there are cases where it really matters" to have a Latino perspective. For that reason he is hoping Obama will name Hispanics to appeals courts as well as the Supreme Court. Appeals courts decide a lot of immigration cases, and they also serve as training grounds for the high court. Justices David Souter and Clarence Thomas, he notes, were named to the high court after brief stints on courts of appeals.

MALDEF also hopes Obama will embrace a broader Hispanic agenda that includes jobs, health care, and civil rights. "We have evolved from focusing just on a Latino justice to focusing on justice for Latinos." Trasvina adds, "Clearly we can have both."


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government
KEYWORDS: 111th; bho2008; bhoscotus; hispandering; hispanicvote; immigration; maldef; obama; obamatransitionfile; scotus
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1 posted on 11/28/2008 11:11:15 AM PST by stan_sipple
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To: stan_sipple
Sure...what could be more “unifying” then dividing us by race.
2 posted on 11/28/2008 11:12:19 AM PST by BenLurkin
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To: BenLurkin

how many white slots will Obama allow?


3 posted on 11/28/2008 11:13:01 AM PST by stan_sipple
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To: stan_sipple

Why don’t we just let LA Raza pick the next supreme? Jeesh!


4 posted on 11/28/2008 11:13:09 AM PST by aliquando (A Scout is T, L, H, F, C, K, O, C, T, B, C, and R.)
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To: aliquando

what about the Aboriginal agenda?


5 posted on 11/28/2008 11:14:15 AM PST by stan_sipple
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To: stan_sipple

Free Miguel!!


6 posted on 11/28/2008 11:15:27 AM PST by Bush_Democrat (Ex-Dem since 2001 *Folding@Home for the Gipper - Join the FReeper Folders*)
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To: stan_sipple
there are cases where it really matters" to have a Latino perspective

Totalizing and universalizing is not a basis for standing. A legal perspective might matter.

7 posted on 11/28/2008 11:15:34 AM PST by RightWhale (Exxon Suxx)
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To: stan_sipple

“First Hispanic Supreme Court Justice”??????

I didn’t know the SC was bi-lingual!!!

badaboom


8 posted on 11/28/2008 11:15:36 AM PST by biff
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To: stan_sipple

I’m sure Miguel Estrada is still available.


9 posted on 11/28/2008 11:15:45 AM PST by Breyean
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To: aliquando
Didnt Miguel Estrada count?
10 posted on 11/28/2008 11:16:07 AM PST by stan_sipple
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To: stan_sipple
"but we deserve it."

Huh? How do you, as a group, DESERVE it? We need the best man to interpret the Constitution, not a token representative.

11 posted on 11/28/2008 11:16:54 AM PST by NTegraT (Ready to RULE on Day One.)
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To: Breyean

yup, the Rats and GOP Quislings strung him along forever in limbo. A practicing attorney cant wait forever to take office and also leave his clients hanging.


12 posted on 11/28/2008 11:17:11 AM PST by stan_sipple
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To: stan_sipple
Whoraldo Rivera for SCOTUS !
13 posted on 11/28/2008 11:17:53 AM PST by kbennkc (For those who have fought for it freedom has a flavor the protected will never know F/8 Cav)
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To: stan_sipple

Good lord. This is pathetic. Get an hispanic judge in there no matter what. Even if he’s pickin weeds the day before, just be sure he/she is hispanic.


14 posted on 11/28/2008 11:18:06 AM PST by albie
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To: stan_sipple

Ridiculous. The SCOTUS is no place for affirmative action it IS the place for the best qualified constitutional Judge.


15 posted on 11/28/2008 11:19:29 AM PST by omega4179 (Pardon Ramos and Compean)
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To: omega4179

To late by a long shot.


16 posted on 11/28/2008 11:20:12 AM PST by nufsed
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To: stan_sipple
Miguel Estrada

The beauty of being a liberal is that history always begins this morning.
-Ann Coulter

-PJ

17 posted on 11/28/2008 11:20:27 AM PST by Political Junkie Too (You can never overestimate the Democrats' ability to overplay their hand.)
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To: NTegraT
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." -MLKJ
18 posted on 11/28/2008 11:20:43 AM PST by villagerjoel (1984 was not supposed to be an instruction manual!)
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To: stan_sipple

What ever happened to nominating the MOST QUALIFIED? As long as the race baiters continue to demand that race be an element of appointment decisions, we will never get past being a racist society. However, the true racists among us are those calling for race as a criterion, not the rest of us.

Lock and load...we’re in for a long four years...


19 posted on 11/28/2008 11:23:12 AM PST by PubliusMM (RKBA; a matter of fact, not opinion)
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To: aliquando

Didn’t Bush want to nominate a hispanic judge but Teddy Kennedy get in a huff about that. In fact, there was an email that was taken off a server and given to the press.
They only cared about that an email was illegaly given to the press.


20 posted on 11/28/2008 11:24:59 AM PST by Holicheese (Get up Tom Brady, get up! PLEASE!!)
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To: stan_sipple

“Judge Kim Wardlaw of the 9th Circuit”
Great! How many opinions was she involved in, that have been reversed?


21 posted on 11/28/2008 11:25:15 AM PST by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ("Don't touch that thing")
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To: stan_sipple

At the front of this line....ought to be a native American Indian Supreme Court judge. Then the Latino guy. Then the Asian lesbian. Then the Haitian guy. Then the Russian gal. Then the gay Syrian guy. Then the South Korean guy. Then the Catholic Priest guy. Then the ex-Yankee Manager. Then the bipolar guy from Hawaii. Then finally Joe the Plumber.


22 posted on 11/28/2008 11:26:43 AM PST by pepsionice
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To: stan_sipple

Are there any midgets on the Supreme Court? Have there ever been?

This is very worrying.
Why does everyone hate midgets?


23 posted on 11/28/2008 11:28:27 AM PST by Bon mots
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To: stan_sipple

Why not John McNut? He’s a Panamanian citizen...He just never submitted his official papers to get his cédula and passport.


24 posted on 11/28/2008 11:28:30 AM PST by Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
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To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra
Wikipedia summarizes her notable cases, almost all pro-government, pro-criminal.
25 posted on 11/28/2008 11:28:48 AM PST by stan_sipple
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To: villagerjoel
Dave Chappelle said it best: It's good to be the first at something, just not the first black guy to do something. We have to be close to having every single group represented on the court and in public life. Better yet, lets just start adding people to our new 45000 member strong supreme court. We can cover every known demographic,including Jedis, Martians, Video Game characters, the Fictional and Ring Wraiths. All we would ask in return is that the aliens would keep Dennis Kuchinich this time.
26 posted on 11/28/2008 11:29:05 AM PST by Saban=messiah (Here we come Auburn)
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To: stan_sipple

preferably an illegal alien hispanic


27 posted on 11/28/2008 11:31:23 AM PST by ckilmer (Phi)
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To: stan_sipple
emboldened by the importance of the Hispanic vote to Obama's victory -- two-thirds of Hispanics voted for him -- Hispanic groups are cautiously hopeful that finally the time has come for a justice with a Latino background.

Now there's a fine reason to nominate someone--he belongs to a certain ethnic voting bloc. What else is the Supreme Court good for if not to pay off political stooges.

28 posted on 11/28/2008 11:32:55 AM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: Political Junkie Too

Ann is so insightful. Miquel is too....but he’s apparently not the “right kind” of Hispanic for the SCOTUS.


29 posted on 11/28/2008 11:35:47 AM PST by anniegetyourgun
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To: BenLurkin
Pressure Is on Obama to Name First Hispanic Supreme Court Justice

Oh, I know, can he appoint Osvaldo Aldrete Dávila. [/cynic]

Sure...what could be more “unifying” then dividing us by race.

Not dividing us by: income, sexual orientation, political preferences, religious preferences, legal citizenship status, moral beliefs... [/sarc]

30 posted on 11/28/2008 11:36:14 AM PST by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: stan_sipple
but we deserve it.

There it is again. They, the hispanics (whatever that is supposed to be) are "owed."

31 posted on 11/28/2008 11:37:59 AM PST by TLI ( ITINERIS IMPENDEO VALHALLA)
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To: stan_sipple

What will the MSM say when Obama fires all the Bush appointed attorneys? Will they try to get teh attorney general fired?


32 posted on 11/28/2008 11:38:32 AM PST by Brimack34
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To: stan_sipple
Lets not judge someone by their character when their color is so much more fun.
33 posted on 11/28/2008 11:38:48 AM PST by Mark was here (The earth is bipolar.)
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To: villagerjoel

>”I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” -MLKJ

Yes... but who cares what a bunch of old influential [read: white] men said? As Mrs. Obama said, now is the first time that she is proud of her country.[/sarc]


34 posted on 11/28/2008 11:39:00 AM PST by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: stan_sipple
We have a 'womyn seat' a 'black seat' next a 'latino seat'.

To fill it out have a 'gay-transgendered seat', a 'native-american seat'. To be fair a 'straight-white-male.

Three more, bring back the 'jewish seat', a 'muslim seat' and finally the 'atheist seat'.

35 posted on 11/28/2008 11:41:58 AM PST by AU72
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To: stan_sipple

How about that drug dealer that Border Patrol agents Compean and Ramos shot in the ass.


36 posted on 11/28/2008 11:49:50 AM PST by Texas Eagle ("Vote Obama, Get Clinton...Quick change artist "-- fishhound 11/28/08)
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To: stan_sipple
Maybe Manuel L. Real - hispanic, Rat, lunatic, notoriously corrupt federal district court judge...

He's got it all.

37 posted on 11/28/2008 11:52:26 AM PST by Mojave (http://barackobamajokes.googlepages.com/obama_funny)
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To: Breyean
Of course the article doesn't even mention him. Or how the democrats hung him out to dry when Bush wanted to appoint him to the D.C. court that likely would have been a step towards a S.C. appointment. Of course, Estrada is a conservative who actually respects the Constitution so in the eyes of race-baiters he's not really Hispanic.

Typical.
38 posted on 11/28/2008 11:53:35 AM PST by Zero Sum
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To: stan_sipple

lets have zero actually take the thrown first...he’s not our president yet.....geesh......


39 posted on 11/28/2008 11:54:44 AM PST by cherry
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To: BenLurkin

Exactly


40 posted on 11/28/2008 11:54:50 AM PST by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote.)
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To: AU72

Well we have the non-straight white male covered


41 posted on 11/28/2008 11:56:04 AM PST by stan_sipple
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To: stan_sipple

Oh, puleez, could we just be done with the quota stuff? You’d think it was 1862 or something....

And is anyone else sick to death of the huge number of black actors on tv these days? You’d think this country was 80% black. Blacks in ads, blacks in sit-coms, blacks in this and blacks in that — I feel propagandized in my own living room.

Could we just get to the point where we honor MLK’s words — “When people are judged by their character and not by their skin color.”


42 posted on 11/28/2008 12:10:29 PM PST by bboop (obama, little o, not a Real God)
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To: bboop

ask our recently retired RINO SCOTUS justice O’Connor about that.


43 posted on 11/28/2008 12:15:48 PM PST by stan_sipple
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To: Bon mots
Are there any midgets on the Supreme Court? Have there ever been?

Does Ginsberg count?

44 posted on 11/28/2008 12:19:37 PM PST by Bertram3
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To: stan_sipple

I heard of a Hispanic in California who only earns $14,000 a year and bought a home for $720,000; he sure could use a better job; he doesn’t speak English, is that a problem?


45 posted on 11/28/2008 12:26:00 PM PST by boxer21
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To: aliquando

Hispanics decided the election, going 2:1 for Hussein over Juan McAmnesty. Now comes payoff time.


46 posted on 11/28/2008 12:30:35 PM PST by Dagnabitt (What (child) Would Mohammad Do?)
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To: stan_sipple

I don’t give a darn if he names a Purple People Eater to the Court, just as long as he is a strict constructionist.

But we know that won’t happen. The first prerequisite will be justices eager to destroy the Constitution and remake the country in Obama’s image.


47 posted on 11/28/2008 12:37:05 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: stan_sipple

What a warped world we live in - the “pressure” should be on Mr. Obama to appoint a qualified Supreme Court judge, regardless of race. But I suppose I live in some other century.


48 posted on 11/28/2008 12:40:38 PM PST by Zack Nguyen
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To: Zack Nguyen

Scalia Thomas Alito and Roberts wont live forever say good bye to the rule of law by then


49 posted on 11/28/2008 12:48:58 PM PST by stan_sipple
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To: stan_sipple

Perhaps I missed something in the news - but WHY is there pressure for Obama to nominate ANYONE to the Supreme Court? Did I miss the retirement announcement or obituary about a Justice?

Perhaps he should just go ahead and make the nomination now, get them confirmed, then have them in “hot standby” so just in case someone leaves the bench he has a ready replacement.

Or, better yet why doesn’t he just mandate an extra justice now so there will be ties? He is, after all, the messiah having come to enlighten us all.


50 posted on 11/28/2008 1:26:43 PM PST by msrngtp2002 (Just my opinion.)
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