We knew that Sonia Sotomayor had appeared at La Raza sponsored events; now we know that Sotomayor joined the National Council of La Raza as a member. And this was not just a youthful piece of radicalism that Sotomayor later outgrew, either, as The Hill reports:
Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor was a member of the National Council of La Raza for six years, according to her Senate questionaire released Wednesday.
Sotomayor, who would be the first Latina Supreme Court justice, was a member of the group form 1998 to 2004.
Sotomayor joined NCLR while on the federal appellate court. Oddly, though, the NCLR didn’t mention her six-year membership in their group in their endorsement of the nomination last week:
“Today is a monumental day for Latinos. Finally, we see ourselves represented on the highest court in the land,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “Judge Sotomayor’s story personifies the American Dream for so many Latinos in this country.”
“By nominating someone with the experience, background, and superb legal credentials of Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama has made an excellent choice for the entire country,” added Murguía. “The President wanted a justice who not only is a respected jurist, but also understands how the law affects the lives of everyday people. Judge Sotomayor embodies those qualities.”
“We commend President Obama for making this historic appointment and for recognizing that excellence and diversity are not mutually exclusive,” concluded Murguía.
Did La Raza not know that Sotomayor had been a member, or did they just think it might be best to keep quiet about it?
This will certainly fuel some questions during the confirmation process. The NCLR has a number of critics for their open-borders and identity-politics positions, which would make Sotomayor’s “wise Latina woman better than a white male” comment seem right at home. In fact, they took so much heat during the immigration debate that they eventually added an entire section of their site disassociating themselves with concepts like reconquista, Aztlán, and other separatist notions. (Many of those criticisms apply more correctly to MeChA; La Raza did repudiate La Voz de Aztlán for its racism and bigotry.)
Of course, Sotomayor has flirted with nationalism, but when she was a college student, when people are supposed to look arrogantly stupid, wearing Che T-shirts and proclaiming themselves opposed to American imperialism. (Some never outgrow it; they usually just remain in college and start teaching the next few generations of students.) By the time Sotomayor got to law school, she had switched to pushing for Puerto Rican statehood, as Ed Whelan finally discovered in researching the matter. That’s a good thing, too, because the DHS considers support for Puerto Rican independence as a potential indicator of domestic terrorism.
I’d be curious to know what drove her to join La Raza, and even more to know why she left. Should she have belonged to an explicitly political organization while serving as a federal appellate judge? After all, they certainly are active in legal processes for their causes, unlike the Federalist Society, which got demonized during the Roberts and Alito hearings but only serves as an academic society and not a political action group. In any case, the questioning should provide some fireworks, both inside and outside the hearing room.
Update: Verum Serum notes something that got left out of the questionnaire.