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Latino group sends Sotomayor papers to Senate

Latino group sends Sotomayor papers to Senate

A Puerto Rican civil rights leader said Tuesday he was ready to start sending a trove of documents from Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's past to the Senate committee that will consider her nomination.
Cesar Perales, head of the legal advocacy group LatinoJustice PRLDEF said he would send the Judiciary Committee minutes of meetings Sotomayor participated in as a board member of the group from 1980 until 1992, as well as pleadings from cases it handled while Sotomayor headed the board's litigation committee.
Republicans and conservative interest groups have criticized Sotomayor's involvement with the organization _ formerly known as the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund _ and called it radical. Among causes it took up while Sotomayor served on the board were bilingual education, support for abortion rights and opposition to the death penalty, which it equated with racism.
Democrats defend her participation in what they call a mainstream civil rights organization.
It was unclear what effect, if any, the disclosures might have on Sotomayor's nomination, since she had no direct involvement with the group's legal activities. The litigation panel she sat on was an outside group that did not participate in cases but set broad policy and guidelines.
"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 told The Associated Press in an interview. "Her role was to help us raise funds, set policy, hire the person who would run the organization. ... We don't expect to uncover anything particularly interesting."
Still, Perales and his staff have been combing through 300 cartons of documents for any bit of paper that might be pertinent to Sotomayor's confirmation process. That includes any letter, report or memo written by any committee she served on during her dozen years on the board.
Republicans and Democrats teamed to request the documents, and Republican senators have suggested the delay in uncovering them is grounds for delaying hearings on the nomination, now set to begin on July 13.
Perales said the Judiciary panel should have all the material by the end of the week.
"They'll have a lot to read," he said. "We hope to produce them all by Friday _ even if we have to pull all-nighters."