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The White House Plan to Confirm Sotomayor

6 years ago
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WASHINGTON--When President Obama announced his nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court on Tuesday, the East Room of the White House was packed.

Besides Sotomayor's family members, White House staffers and Attorney General Eric Holder, there were others guests who were carefully selected by the White House.

Most of the chosen live in the Washington area. They were summoned with a hurried call at about 8 a.m. from a White House aide who told them to rush over for an important announcement sometime near 10 a.m. Some realized what was up, because news that Obama would pick Sotomayor, a federal appeals judge in New York, for the Supreme Court was all over the morning shows. The list of attendees, obtained by, is at the end of this post.

In all, the White House pulled together 62 leaders of organizations. When I read the list of attendees, provided by the White House Office of Public Engagement (the recently renamed Office of Public Liaison), the common thread jumped out.

Most of the groups will be counted on by the White House to rally their very different constituencies on behalf of Sotomayor. The White House leveraged the announcement by getting Sotomayor's chief defenders together.

Among those present were leaders of Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America, because abortion is always an issue when it comes to a Supreme Court nominee, as well as heavyweights from Democratic-allied (official or unofficial) ethnic, labor and religious organizations.

Another point of the invite was to let the White House folks pay their props to this very important network, and to start the process of sending out a unified set of messages about Sotomayor.

Shortly after the Sotomayor announcement, the White House tried to cement the message by distributing talking points in a memo headlined "TOPLINE POINTS ON SCOTUS ANNOUNCEMENT** Not for Distribution**"

Have you heard Sotomayor has more federal experience than any nominee in 100 years? It seems I heard it about 100 times just on Wednesday.

Here's how the talking point memo put it:

"If confirmed for the Supreme Court, Judge Sotomayor would bring more federal judicial experience to the Supreme Court than any justice in 100 years, and more overall judicial experience than anyone confirmed for the Court in the past 70 years."
The talking points are circulated to Democratic operatives, Democratic press secretaries, and Democrats known as "talkers" who are the regulars on talk shows.

To underline the message, the White House organized a set of briefing calls on Wednesday: 12:30 p.m. for "talkers;' then White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod briefed Democratic Senate press secretaries at 2 p.m., mainly to run through the talking points.

Later Wednesday afternoon, on another messaging front, the Obama team was activating the vast e-mail network accumulated during the presidential campaign to work grassroots and netroots for Sotomayor. The list is now managed by the Democratic National Committee under its "Organizing for America" department.

Obama, in an e-mail video, said:

" I am proud to announce my nominee for the next Justice of the United States Supreme Court: Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

This decision affects us all -- and so it must involve us all. I've recorded a special message to personally introduce Judge Sotomayor and explain why I'm so confident she will make an excellent Justice."

Get the message?

SOURCE: The White House.

Alliance for Justice, Nan Aron

American Association of People with Disabilities, Andy Imparato

American Association for Justice, Linda Lipsen

American Bar Association, Tom Susman

AFL-CIO, John Sweeney

American Jewish Committee, Richard Foltin

Anti-Defamation League, Jess Hordes

Asian American Justice Center, Karen Narasaki

Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Robert Bernstein

Business Forward, Jim Doyle

Business Roundtable, Larry Burton

Catholics United, James Salt

Change to Win, Anna Burger

Children's Defense Fund, Marian Wright Edelman

Church of God in Christ, Inc., Rev. Eugene Rivers

Citizens' Commission on Civil Rights, William Taylor

Common Purpose Project, Miti Sathe

Constitutional Accountability Center, Doug Kendall

Faith in Public Life, Jennifer Butler

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Greg Lukianoff

Gay and Lesbian Task Force, D'Arcy Kemnitz

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, David Ferreira

Hispanic National Bar Association, Liz Lopez

Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solmonese

Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Ralph Everett

Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Barbara Arnwine

Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Nancy Zirkin

Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Wade Henderson

League of United Latin American Citizens, Brent Wilkes

NAACP, Ben Jealous

NAACP, Hilary Shelton

NAACP – LDF, John Payton

NAACP-LDF, Leslie Proll

National Action Network, Rev. Al Sharpton

National Association of Women Judges, Marie Komisar

National Association of Women Lawyers, Lisa Horowitz

National Black Chamber of Commerce, Harry Alford

National Center for Lesbian Rights, Elizabeth Seaton

National Coalition of Black Women, E. Faye Williams

National Congress of American Indians, Jacqueline Johnson

National Council of Jewish Women, Sammie Moshenberg

National Employment Law Project, Christine Owens

National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, Gabriela Lemus

National Jewish Democratic Council, Linda Berg

National LGBT Bar Association, D'Arcy Kemnitz

NOW, Kim Gandy

National Partnership for Women and Families, Judy Lichtman

National Policy Alliance, Linda Haithcox

NARAL, Nancy Keenan

National Small Business Association, Todd McCracken

National Urban League, Stephanie Jones

National Urban League and Black Leadership Forum, Marc Morial

National Women's Law Center, Marcia Greenberger

Native American Bar Association, Heather Thompson

People for the American Way, Marge Baker

Planned Parenthood, Laurie Rubiner

Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Mark Pelavin

SEIU, Andy Stern

Sojourners, Jim Wallis

Third Way, Rachel Laser

United Methodist Church, Bill Mefford

US Chamber, Bruce Josten

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