Sessions Comments on PRLDEF Document Delays

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) made the following comments today regarding the delayed release of documents relating to Judge Sonia Sotomayor from the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund:

“Judge Sotomayor served in senior leadership roles at the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF) for 12 years. We know that she served as the Chair of the organization’s Litigation Committee, Vice President of the Board of Directors, and in other senior positions. Given these leadership positions, it is not ‘unusual’ that the Committee would want to know more about her role in the organization.

“During her time there, the organization took extreme positions on legal issues ranging from the death penalty to abortion to racial quotas. It is absurd for the White House to say that documents relating to her work there—requested in a bipartisan letter from Chairman Leahy and myself—are not relevant.

“Case in point: The New Haven firefighters discrimination case. In one of her most controversial decisions, Judge Sotomayor sided with the City of New Haven’s decision to throw out the promotions of 18 firefighters based on race, and denied the firefighters their day in court. The Supreme Court overturned Judge Sotomayor’s decision and said that New Haven violated the firefighters’ civil rights. In her legal opinion, Judge Sotomayor provided no rationale for her controversial decision.

“The PRLDEF documents may provide insight into her judicial approach. During Judge Sotomayor’s time at PRLDEF, the organization launched a series of legal actions to throw out the test results for other city employees on the basis of race—just like in the New Haven case. What role did Judge Sotomayor play in the decision to bring these cases? What do these activities mean in light of Judge Sotomayor’s statement that her experiences influence her rulings as a judge? The American people have a right to know this important information about President Obama’s nominee.

“PRLDEF has reviewed only 3 of more than 300 boxes of materials, and from that we have received only 300 pages of documents. This is unacceptable. Rather than simply defend PRLDEF, the White House should respect the Judiciary Committee’s important bipartisan request that these documents be delivered to the Committee in a timely manner so they can be reviewed before Judge Sotomayor’s hearing, which is now just five legislative days away.”