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Sonia & the Supremes

The Judicial Confirmation Network has sent a letter to all Republican Senators concerning the courtesy visits that Judge Sonia Sotomayor will soon be making to their offices. “Senate Republicans have been working since January … to figure out the right approach to Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nomination,” said Wendy Long of The Judicial Confirmation Network.

At the weekly bloggers meeting that is held at the Heritage Foundation, Long said that Senate Republican leaders have “stressed that nothing is off the table, including a filibuster. We want to have all the tools in our arsenal available to deal with this nomination as we move forward.”

Long also expressed concerns about Sotomayor’s ruling in Ricci v. DeStefano, in which Sotomayor was part of a panel ruling against a group of white firefighters in New Haven, Conn. “The White House is spinning this,” Long said. “What [Sotomayor] was doing very much departs from Second Circuit procedure and how cases are handled.” Long pointed out the lack of case precedent that was “directly on point,” and believes this allowed Sotomayor “to bury these claims because they did not suit her policy agenda.”

Long hopes that Republicans will use this nomination process as an opportunity to explain their judicial philosophy and contrast it with the perception that she believes many have of what a judge’s job entails. “The [Supreme] Court isn’t better or worse for having any gender, racial or ethnic composition or lack thereof,” Long said, disagreeing with the “idea that the Supreme Court is a representative body.”

“It’s not about the judge. It’s about the law,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Third Branch Conference has sent a letter to all United States Senators concerning the nomination of Sotomayor. Manuel Miranda, head of the Third Branch Conference, said the letter is “an attempt to speak for the conservative movement.”

“We wanted to establish a baseline and that is one purpose of this letter.” Miranda said. “What is expected is…a great debate.”

Miranda further asserted that the Republican Party “should look to a traditional filibuster” in order “to prolong debate” and discussion about the issues surrounding Sotomayor. He hopes for “a result in both in the debate and in the vote that shows the difference between Republicans and Democrats…and whether we can count on Senate Republicans to be truly the defenders of the Constitution.”

Miranda also addressed Sotomayor’s now-infamous 2001 statement that a “wise Latina woman” would often reach a better conclusion than a white male. “You have to look at the context in which that comment was said,” Miranda said. “It may not make her a racist, but it certainly makes her biased and imprudent.” Miranda further stated that Sotomayor’s comments “merit an apology.”

Miranda expects “a fairly high number” of Republican Senators to vote against Sotomayor. He advises Republicans to focus on giving “clear explanations” for their votes and consider “what kind of effort is being made to communicate to the American people.” Miranda also considers it important for Republicans to keep in mind that “elections are won on marginal issues” because Americans “know it affects their lives.” “A vote against this nominee without substance is going to be problematic,” Miranda said.

Miranda hopes that Republicans will continue their outreach to the Hispanic community throughout this process. “There is no group of Americans … that better understands what it means to have courts that you cannot count on for justice than Hispanics.” Miranda noted. “Hispanics understand what it means to have impartial judges.”

Miranda says that Sotomayor is “a nominee that will allow the Hispanic community to understand the issues that both define and divide us. And that’s a good thing.”