Obama’s Nod to Sotomayor in Bid for Brown Votes

Obama’s Nod to Sotomayor in Bid for Brown Votes


In a nod to Latina voters, who will be a key group this election season, the Obama campaign released the following ad this Memorial Day weekend to celebrate the three year anniversary of the President nominating the first Hispanic to the Supreme Court:

Latina women have been voting at a higher rate than Latino men. In the 2008 election, 34.3% of eligible Latinas voted while only 29.1% of their male counterparts did.

Additionally, a November 2011 poll showed that 69% of Latinas were more likely to vote for Obama than for Romney versus 47% of non-Latinas who were likely to support the President. Clearly, the nomination of Justice Sotomayor is an issue that is going to resonate with Latinas given her background that is so similar to many in the Latino community.  And, in many ways, it also fits into the larger campaign narrative in which Democrats will be fighting hard for women voters.

During the primary season when Mitt Romney attacked Rick Santorum for having voted to confirm Sotomayor to the federal circuit court, Latinos criticized Governor Romney for the attacks on the nation’s first Latina Supreme Court Justice.

Pedro Pierluisi, who is Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner, told reporters back in February that ” …. it [was] profoundly disappointing that he [Romney] would use a highly qualified justice, who received bipartisan support … as a political weapon to hit his opponent.”

Attacking Justice Sotomayor can be offensive to Latinos from all backgrounds because she is one of the few national figures that the community can point to as a uniter. When she was nominated to the Supreme Court three years ago, Latinos across the United States breathed a collective sigh of relief that finally “one of us” would be represented on the nation’s highest court.

Just a few weeks ago in the Los Angeles Times, Ruben Diaz, the Bronx borough president and former New York state legislator said, “The first Latino on the bench is a Puerto Rican from New York, and it never would have happened without our Mexican American brothers and sisters pushing the White House for that.”

Justice Sotomayor’s accomplishments and what her position on the Supreme Court symbolizes for the Latino community at large are significant. The Obama campaign’s move in releasing this video featuring Latina staffers reminds this significant voting block of the pride and elation felt when the President gave Latino children a role model that personifies what can be achieved with hard work and perseverance.  That hill the GOP will have to climb for Latino votes is getting higher by the day.