Women's Groups Vow to Fight for Swift Confirmation
By Garance Franke-Ruta
Women's groups that had been urging President Obama to select the fourth female Supreme Court nominee in American history greeted his choice of Judge Sonia Sotomayor with enthusiasm.
The New Agenda, a nonpartisan group formed during last year's presidential campaigns, hailed the selection as "inspirational" and pronounced itself "thrilled" that four of the 10 women it suggested for the court were interviewed by Obama.
"It's a great day for America and a great day for women," said New Agenda co-founder Nancy Hopkins. "The choice of Sotomayor also shows that excellence and diversity go hand in hand. In this case, they were inseparable," she added.
The National Organization for Women also cheered the nomination of Sotomayor and president Kim Gandy said it would launch a campaign to ensure her "swift confirmation."
"Judge Sotomayor will serve the nation with distinction. She brings a lifelong commitment to equality, justice and opportunity, as well as the respect of her peers, unassailable integrity, and a keen intellect informed by experience. President Obama said he wanted a justice with 'towering intellect' and a 'common touch' and he found both in Judge Sotomayor," Gandy said in a statement calling for Sotomayor's confirmation before the Senate's August recess.
The National Women's Law Center hailed the "historic" choice, with co-president Marcia D. Greenberger praising Sotomayor's "sterling academic credentials, extensive experience as a practicing lawyer in both criminal and civil matters, and service both as a federal trial court and appellate court judge."
The support of such groups comes against a backdrop in which a number of the attacks against Sotomayor are being greeted by supporters of judicial diversity as expressions of implicit bias against her as a woman, rather than as legitimate critiques, and where those committed to the representation of women in the professions have kept detailed accounts of how far women still have to go before they achieve representational parity in the judiciary.
It's a debate that's sure to heat up, should critics seek to engage on questions of Sotomayor's "judicial temperament," rather than past decisions -- and one that could prove especially tricky for partisans on both sides, given the impassioned nature of debates about gender and sexism.
Posted at 4:10 PM ET on May 26, 2009
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