Pro-Abortion Hispanic Group: Sotomayor Set Policy, Not Involved in Legal Briefs

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 1, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Abortion Hispanic Group: Sotomayor Set Policy, Not Involved in Legal Briefs

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 1
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The president of a pro-abortion Hispanic group says Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor set policy but was not involved in pro-abortion legal briefs when she was on its board of directors. Sotomayor was on the board of the group now known as Latino Justice.

The organization, formerly known as the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, had her on the board from 1980 to 1992.

The New York Times notes that Sotomayor "was an involved and ardent supporter of their various legal efforts."

Those efforts included several Supreme Court briefs arguing for unlimited legal abortions for any reason throughout pregnancy and for taxpayer funding of abortions.

Cesar Perales, PRLDEF’s president and general counsel, told AP that Sotomayor set policy for the group but wasn’t involved in those legal briefs.

"She was on the board of directors, she was not a member of the legal staff, so she was not directly involved in the legal arguments that we presented," Perales said. "Her role was to help us raise funds, set policy, hire the person who would run the organization."

The Hispanic group is sending 350 pages of documents to the Senate and could send more as it combs through 300 boxes of information that could have mention of Sotomayor.

Although the Senate will have a significant amount of materials to wade through, Chairmaine Yoest, the president of Americans United for Life, has seen enough to say Sotomayor is pro-abortion and worse than Justice David Souter, whom she would replace.

Yoest points out that, during Sotomayor’s time on the PRLDEF’s board, its efforts "included no less than six briefs in five abortion-related cases before the Supreme Court — pushing aggressively for an interpretation of abortion rights that would eliminate most or all state and federal abortion regulations while requiring state and federal funding of abortion."

In two of the legal briefs, "the PRLDEF’s briefs took positions more extreme than those of Justice Souter, who joined with the court’s majority to uphold restrictions the fund wanted struck down," Yoest added.

Ultimately, "Justice Sotomayor has never disavowed any of the PRLDEF’s briefs, which are packed with the kind of extreme rhetoric more typical of left-wing blogs than of serious legal documents."

Sotomayor presumably knew about the briefs and did not apparently lodge any objections to it or to her organization promoting abortion.

Clarke Forsythe, the senior legal counsel for the pro-life group, says the legal brief is a pro-abortion smoking gun of sorts.

“Now we know why President Obama said that Judge Sotomayor shared his view of ‘the Constitution’ and why the White House reassured pro-abortion organizations," he said. "If Judge Sotomayor holds the position that she signed onto via the PRDF’s brief, then, if an abortion-related case comes up on the docket, it will lead to her reading the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) into the Constitution by judicial interpretation."

The brief also argued that any laws requiring abortions to be performed in hospitals would preclude abortions for poor women and women of color.

Last month, Sotomayor made a comment during a meeting with one senator that also sent shockwaves throughout the pro-life community.

Senator Jim DeMint, a pro-life Republican from South Carolina, says he had a "good meeting" with the appeals court judge, but he came away with a telling comment.

"When I asked if an unborn child has any rights whatsoever, I was surprised that she said she had never thought about it," he said. "This is not just a question about abortion, but about respect due to human life at all stages — and I hope this is cleared up in her hearings."

Sotomayor has also come under fire for saying she regretted the adoption of a Congressional bill that prevented the Legal Services Corporation from spending taxpayer funds litigating in favor of abortion.

Two key pro-abortion senators have also said they think she will uphold unlimited abortions if confirmed to the high court.

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