President Barack Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor as his first Supreme Court appointment amounts to another victory for Chuck Schumer, who has pushed for Sotomayor for weeks.
And he is taking his credit.
A statement just issued by Schumer's office points out that he, along with Kirsten Gillibrand, recommended Sotomayer back in April.
In the statement, Schumer said that it was an especially wise choice because it met "three very important standards… excellence, moderation and diversity." Schumer argued that Obama's pick is also a gesture of good will towards Republicans, because he did not select someone from "the far left end of the spectrum to fill the vacancy."
Earlier this month, Schumer successfully pressured the White House to help clear the field of primary challengers for Gillibrand, who, in a statement sent out a few minutes before Schumer's, said that she had spoken with the president to commend his choice. Her office emphasized the "first Latino on the nation's highest court" angle, perhaps with an eye to her continuing courtship of Latino officials and voters who have been wary of her conservative record in the House on immigration.
The two statements are below.
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) released the following statement Tuesday regarding President Obama's nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. Schumer, along with fellow New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, had recommended Sotomayor for the Court in a letter to President Obama in April:
"This is an historic choice, and much more. Judge Sotomayor meets three very important standards in filling this Supreme Court vacancy-excellence, moderation and diversity. First, she is a top-of-the-class legal mind who achieved the very highest honors at the nation's foremost academic institutions. Second, she is a moderate who was selected for the District Court by the first President Bush and was confirmed with Republican votes. Unlike the last President Bush, who solely sought nominees from the extreme right for the High Court, President Obama has not reached to the far left end of the spectrum to fill this vacancy.
"In addition to having more overall judicial experience than anyone confirmed for the Court in the past 70 years, Sotomayor will bring an important perspective to the Court as both a woman and a Latina. Her life story, which has taken her from a public housing project in the Bronx to the finest schools in the county and a distinguished legal career, is beyond compelling. It will give the Court some needed understanding of how ordinary Americans live. Her outstanding legal mind, and her compelling life experience, is just the combination this Court needs in its next justice.
"Given her track record of excellence and moderation, and her life story, it's going to be very hard for any senator, Republican or Democrat, to vote against her."
–Senator Charles E. Schumer
And here's Gillibrand's:
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand praised President Barack Obama's historic move to select Judge Sonia Sotomayor to fill the vacancy on the United States Supreme Court. Earlier this month, Senators Gillibrand and Charles E. Schumer sent a personal letter to President Obama recommending that he appoint Judge Sotomayor to serve as the first Latino on the nation's highest court.
"I spoke with President Obama this morning and told him that he had made a historic and fantastic decision," said Senator Gillibrand. "In Judge Sotomayor, we have a superbly qualified jurist, who understands, respects, and connects with the people whose lives will be affected by the Court. Judge Sotomayor will bring invaluable experience and much needed diversity to our nation's highest court. I look forward to a respectful and swift confirmation process in which Congress and the American people can learn more about Judge Sotomayor's phenomenal qualifications."