Friday, April 19, 2024

Transition NEWS

Push for the Nation’s First Hispanic Supreme Court Justice Begins NOW

Last month, the President of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) Roberta Romero, wrote a letter to President- Elect Obama urging him to nominate a Hispanic to serve on the Supreme Court if the opportunity arises during his administration. Below, is an excerpt from the letter:

“As you know, no person of Latino origin has ever served on the United States Supreme Court. This absence has long troubled the HNBA because of its potential to undermine trust in the legitimacy of our legal system among a large and growing segment of the American population. Moreover, it conveys an unfortunate message about the importance of Latinos in the civic life of our Nation and signals to Hispanics that American society imposes limits on our aspirations. “

Carlos Ortiz, the former President of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) and former chair of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund said. “It’s not just the right thing to do, but we deserve it. I can’t imagine that the next appointment will go to someone other than a Hispanic.”

According to Legal, almost every list of possible Obama nominees to the high court includes Hispanics, most notably Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. But others who are mentioned include: Judge Kim Wardlaw of the 9th Circuit (her mother was Mexican), U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo of Chicago, California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno, and Democratic U.S. Senators, Ken Salazar of Colorado and Robert Menendez of New Jersey.

Legal also reports that, HNBA President, Ramona Romero is forming a committee, that includes Latino activists such as Carlos Ortiz. This committee would serve to contact and aid in vetting possible candidates for a Supreme Court nomination, so that they will be prepared when the opportunity arises.

John Trasviña, President and General Counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), also has hopes that President-Elect Obama will name Hispanics to appeals Courts, as well as the Supreme Court. He explained that, “Appeals courts decide a lot of immigration cases, and they also serve as training grounds for the high court. He added that, “Justices David Souter and Clarence Thomas were named to the high court after brief stints on courts of appeals.”

In her letter Romero stressed that HNBA believes that, “The presence of a Latino or Latina at the conference table could add a needed special voice to the Supreme Court’s deliberations and decisions.”

Legal Times
Wall Street Journal
Read full HNBA Letter