Hispanic Caucus ramps up SCOTUS pressure on Obama

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus got a jump on lobbying President Obama to fill a Supreme Court vacancy with a Hispanic nominee earlier this week.

Jared Allen has the story:
Leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus are getting a head start on pushing President Obama to appoint the first Hispanic to the Supreme Court to replace retiring Justice David Souter.

Reps. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) and Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas), chairwoman and vice chairman of the CHC, have sent Obama a letter asking the president to fill any Supreme Court vacancy with a Latino justice. The letter was sent on Wednesday, a full day before news broke that Souter was planning on retiring in June.

"We write to ask you should a vacancy on the Supreme Court occur you actively engage in identifying a quality Hispanic legal professional for consideration," Velazquez and Gonzalez wrote.

And while the CHC praised Obama's selection of leading Hispanics to a number of top federal positions - including two Cabinet secretaries - they made a strong pitch that the federal court is lacking in diversity.

The letter, and Rep. Solomon Ortiz's (D-Texas) remarks further down in that story, are just one indication of the political pressures Obama faces now that Souter appears to be stepping down. Other prominent members of the Hispanic community are also speaking out. Esther Aguilera, the president and CEO of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, a nonprofit that specializes developing leadership skills in Hispanic youth, said the community is prepared to lobby for a Hispanic nominee.

"The community is going to galvanize around this," she told the BBR. "There is a deep pool of talented Latino candidates and, as the first Latino nominee to the Supreme Court, it would serve as an inspiration to all."

jeremy.jacobs@thehill.com