Largest Latino Group to Oppose Thomas Nomination

From The Baltimore Sun

The National Council of La Raza, the nation’s largest Latino organization, announced Thursday that it will oppose Senate confirmation of Judge Clarence Thomas for a seat on the Supreme Court.

The council, which represents 139 local organizations that provide services to more than 2 million Latinos, said it was opposing Thomas because of what it called his “callous disregard” of Latinos’ civil rights while he was chairman of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“Hispanics who suffered employment discrimination had trouble even getting into Clarence Thomas’ agency,” council President Raul Yzaguirre said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “Once inside, their cases were likely to be thrown out.”


Tony Salazar, chairman of La Raza’s board of directors, noted that it was “highly unusual” for the organization to take a position against a Supreme Court nominee. He said the group has done so only once before in its 23-year history--in 1987 when it opposed Robert H. Bork, whose nomination was rejected.

Salazar said the decision to oppose Thomas, who currently sits on the federal appeals court, was made in a formal poll of the board, which voted 21 to 2 against Thomas.

In opposing Thomas’ nomination, La Raza joins three other major Latino organizations, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the League of United Latin American Citizens and the Hispanic Bar Assn. of the District of Columbia.