Carolina advocate Andrea Bazán says she was stunned to hear conservatives compare the largest Hispanic advocacy group to the Ku Klux Klan.
Our colleagues at the (Raleigh) News & Observer report that the nomination of a Hispanic woman to the Supreme Court has brought allegations few thought possible. Some conservatives say Sonia Sotomayor's former membership with the National Council of La Raza should disqualify her for the high court.
La Raza is a Washington-based private non-profit. Its mission is to reduce poverty and discrimination and improve the opportunities for Hispanic Americans. It also aggressively supports immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and advocated for illegal immigrants to pay in-state college tuition fees.
Former Congressman Tom Tancredo called La Raza "a Latino KKK without the hoods and nooses." And conservative political commentator Rush Limbaugh compared Sotomayor to David Duke, who is a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
“It’s outrageous,” Bazán, who chair La Raza’s board, told the paper.
Much of the focus has been on the group’s name: La Raza, which can mean “the race”
Ron Woodard, who leads enforcement advocacy group N.C. Listen, said "They seem to play the race game and to be focused on their race because of their name."
State Sen. Phil Berger, an Eden Republican, who is sponsoring a bill that would bar illegal immigrants from community colleges, said he’s troubled by La Raza’s advocacy work for illegal immigrants.
"If she's a member of the group and she agrees with their policy positions, that would argue against her being on the Supreme Court," he said.
But others say these allegations against La Raza and Sotomayor are a subversive political strategy, much like was used against African American organizations during the civil rights movement.
Said Bazán: "I think we should be looking at the Sotomayor nomination and discussing her qualifications as a judge."