- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Republican senators raised new questions Tuesday morning about Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor’s work with a Puerto Rican legal advocacy group that critics say once equated abortion with slavery.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican and ranking GOP member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, spoke on the Senate floor about Judge Sotomayor’s ties to the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF). Mr. Sessions said the group once made the statement equating abortion with slavery and questioned how closely the judge was involved in forming that policy.

President Obama’s first Supreme Court nominee already faced questions for her role on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a closely-watched reverse-discrimination case involving the city of New Haven, Conn.

The Supreme Court currently is considering Ricci v. DeStefano, a case in which Judge Sotomayor concurred with a ruling that a dyslexic white firefighter was not the target of discrimination after his test results for a job promotion were thrown out by the city.

The city said it rejected the test scores because they were discriminatory, as all but one of the candidates who qualified were white.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said Tuesday that Judge Sotomayor’s ruling in the Ricci case is similar to her work with PRLDEF.

Judge Sotomayor’s advocates, meanwhile, began circulating a National Public Radio interview critical of Mr. Sessions for being “racially hostile” and a “product of the Deep South.”

Mr. Sessions’ attempt to win a seat on the federal bench in 1986 was derailed by allegations of racism.

Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing is scheduled to start in the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 13.

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