Latino Legal Activists Hail Sotomayor Choice
By Michael A. Fletcher
Latino legal activists applauded Sotomayor's appointment. "This is a historic moment," said Cesar Perales, executive director of LatinoJustice PRLDEF, a New York-based civil rights group, where Sotomayor once served as a board member. "This is the most important
Hispanic appointment that has been made in this country's history. It is a recognition that we are coming of age, that we can be one of nine wise people on the Supreme Court, making decisions that affect everyone in this country."
During her years on the organization's board during the 1980s, the organization, then known as the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, focused its efforts on the creation of majority-Hispanic voting districts and the defense of bilingual education programs.
Luis Alvarez, who chaired the civil rights group's board when Sotomayor served on the panel, said that her nomination should go a long way toward bolstering Obama's standing among Hispanic voters.
"It is going to shore him up a lot," Alvarez said. "Many Latino activists were disappointed with the small number of Latino appointees in the administration. There was a sense that he had not done anything, that there was no major appointment. But this is very helpful."
Posted at 12:23 PM ET on May 26, 2009
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