Bench Memos

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Sotomayor Questionnaire Omits Death Penalty-Racism Memo


This morning, I sent a letter to U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee members, noting that Judge Sotomayor’s responses and documentary production in her Supreme Court nomination questionnaire are incomplete.   The omission noted concerns a memo that Sotomayor signed as a member of a three-person task force of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense & Education Fund, in which she objects to the reinstatement of the death penalty in New York state, on the basis, among other things, of her contention that “Capital punishment is associated with evident racism in our society.”  The entire memo is worth reading.   One of two possibilities explains this omission: Either this is another Tom Daschle-type vetting failure, or the White House wants to rush this nomination through to avoid such documents coming to light.   The Senate questionnaire has not been completed in “record time,” as the White House asserted yesterday with great fanfare.   It has not even been completed.   It can be completed in one of two ways: Judge Sotomayor and the White House can fill out the form properly and completely, and provide all pertinent documents, or those of us on the outside can continue to do our piecemeal research and the questionnaire can be repeatedly sent back every time it is shown to be withholding information.


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