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Justice Sotomayor, Baseball and What America Stands For

Puerto Rican voters in Florida are targeted in a new Spanish-language television commercial launched by the Obama campaign that criticizes Mitt Romney for saying he would have opposed Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The advertisement, airing exclusively in Orlando, highlights Sotomayor’s status as the first Puerto Rican – and first Hispanic generally – to serve on the Supreme Court. Romney has explained that his opposition would have stemmed from their different philosophies.
In the commercial, Puerto Rican attorney Nydia Menendez, who lives in Ft. Lauderdale, says, “When she [Sotomayor] was nominated by President Obama, we all celebrated – Puerto Ricans and all Hispanics. But Mitt Romney was opposed to Sotomayor. He offended me when he stated he would have voted against her nomination. … and now he wants our vote for President?” (Translation by the Orlando Sentinel)
People will disagree about the wisdom of President Obama’s appointing Justice Sotomayor to the Supreme Court and former Governor Romney’s opposition, but the fact is that a woman of Puerto Rican descent now serves as one of nine justices on the Supreme Court.
This is a source of pride for many Puerto Ricans today – across the country from Hawaii to Florida to Puerto Rico itself. But the truth is that Justic Sotomayor has been making Puerto Ricans proud for a long time, especially for her popular decision that ended the national baseball strike in 1995, prompting many to credit her with “saving baseball.”  In 1998, Luis Ferre, the Founding President of the New Progressive Party (NPP), the Puerto Rican political party that advocates for Statehood, highlighted his admiration of then-judge Sotomayor in testimony before Congress:
“[I]t was the Puerto Rican judge…Sonia Sotomayor who…decided to issue an injunction that could break the deadlock in the baseball strike, and by doing so, sent the baseball players back to Americans, after more than a year, the enjoyment of one of their favorite sports. Nobody could be part of America more than this competent jurist … She was the true image of the freedom and respect of law America stands for.”

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