- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor said Monday that a women’s group she belongs to does not discriminate based on gender and would consider applications from men interested in joining.

Judge Sotomayor’s membership in the Belizean Grove, a group of more than 120 elite women, spurred questions last week from Republican senators curious whether she had violated the Code of Judicial Conduct, which bars sitting judges from being members in any group that discriminates based on race, gender or ethnicity.

“The organization does not invidiously discriminate on the basis of sex,” Judge Sotomayor wrote in her response Monday. “Men are involved in its activities - they participate in trips, host events and speak at functions - but to the best of my knowledge, a man has never asked to be considered for membership.

“It is also my understanding that all interested individuals are duly considered by the membership committee,” she continued.

Republican lawmakers have spent the past week fighting against plans by Senate Democrats and the White House to have Judge Sotomayor confirmed by early August.

Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans wrote Wednesday, in a letter to the White House, that Judge Sotomayor had submitted an incomplete questionnaire. Republicans on the committee were still reviewing the documents Monday night and were not immediately available for comment.

The senators also sought more information about her work for the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund and speeches and talks she had given over the past two decades but had not provided documentation.

She submitted additional memos from her work with the fund, but said she could not find notes or drafts for the speeches senators asked about.

The information was posted to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Web site Monday evening. Confirmation hearings are scheduled to start July 13.

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