Last week, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) claimed that Judge Sotomayor may not be fit for the Supreme Court because she served on the board of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (now known as “LatinoJustice PRLDEF”), a highly regarded civil rights organization. On Monday, a group of 25 leading Latino organizations, including the Hispanic National Bar Association, the National Council of La Raza, and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, sent a letter to Sessions slamming his questionable attacks on LatinoJustice PRLDEF:
LatinoJustice PRLDEF is a strong and vibrant institution and its work serves not only the Latino community, but the nation as a whole because it advances the basic American principles of equal opportunity and equal access to justice for all in our society. While we each have the right to disagree on specific issues, LatinoJustice PRLDEF’s body of work deserves our respect and yours. Attacks on Latino advocacy and civil rights organizations are not new – we have seen figures in the media mischaracterize and slander our good works, using provocative terms that fan the flames of ethnic animosity. We expect and are entitled to better from a sitting member of the United States Senate.
Sadly, however, Sessions has a long history of these kinds of attacks. Indeed, his own nomination to the federal bench was rejected by the Senate in 1986 because of Sessions’ record of bringing racially-motivated prosecutions, belittling African-American attorneys, and describing the NAACP as an “un-American” and “Communist-inspired” organization that “forced civil rights down the throats of people.” Twenty-three years later, Sessions hasn’t changed one bit.