White House Slams GOP Document Search on Sotomayor

July 2, 2009 - 1:52 PM
The White House is hitting back at a key Republican senator who has accused Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's allies of withholding documents from her past.
Washington (AP) - The White House hit back Thursday at a key Republican senator who has accused Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's allies of withholding documents from her past.
 
White House Counsel Greg Craig told Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, that board meeting minutes and other papers detailing the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund's activities while Sotomayor was an outside adviser aren't relevant to her nomination. Republicans have raised concerns about the judge's involvement in the group, arguing it has taken extreme positions.
 
Sotomayor early last month gave the panel documents she contributed to or helped write as a board member, but Sessions recently demanded more information about the cases the group handled and policy positions it took while she was involved. PRLDEF began sending some of that material to the committee Wednesday, but Sessions' office said Sotomayor's backers were delaying the release of the information to prevent a thorough investigation.
 
Hearings on the nomination are scheduled to begin July 13.
 
In a letter to Sessions, Craig said the Judiciary panel already has all pertinent documents on Sotomayor. He said the judge never served on PRLDEF's staff or supervised its employees, and noted that Republicans have in years past refused to release similar documents on their own Supreme Court nominees.
 
"Perhaps there is confusion about Judge Sotomayor's role with PRLDEF, and that confusion may account for your unusual interest," Craig wrote. "Let me be clear: On Judge Sotomayor's behalf, we submitted all documents the committee requested of her, and we did so in record time."
 
Craig also defended PRLDEF, calling it "a highly respected civil rights fund."