Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), a member of the Judiciary Committee, was a featured guest at a Georgetown fundraiser for the Committee for Justice in 2003. According to the New York Times, the event raised at least $50,000 for the right-wing group that is responsible for the recent Sotomayor slime piece. The attack ad makes the claim that Judge Sonia Sotomayor “led a group supporting violent Puerto Rican terrorists.” It attempts to link Sotomayor to “Obama’s buddy Bill Ayers, the unrepentant terrorist who bombed American buildings in the seventies.” Watch it:
The right-wing group also has other ties to GOP Senators. CFJ’s Chairman of the Board worked on John McCain’s presidential campaign as a “Director of Conservative Outreach.” In 2003, a CFJ ad led Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to characterize CFJ as a “partisan hate group.” In response, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) defended CFJ and its ad on the Senate floor:
There has been an awful lot of railing about this ad by the Committee for Justice. It has a courthouse chambers with a little sign on it, and the sign says ‘Catholics need not apply.’ Isn’t this a legitimate commentary on how people feel about what is happening here? You can agree or disagree, and say it is not a really an accurate statement if you want to. I say it is legitimate commentary.
Are Sessions, Hatch, and their conservative colleagues still willing to defend the Committee for Justice and argue that it is “legitimate commentary” to imply Sotomayor is a terrorist?
TP’s Ian Millhiser is live-blogging today’s hearings. Check out his coverage here.