NRA, Chamber of Commerce split on Sotomayor

July 23, 2009

Two of the biggest and most influential U.S. conservative groups have split over U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

USA-COURTS/SOTOMAYORThe U.S. Chamber of Commerce, with more than three million business members, urged the U.S. Senate to confirm her. It concluded that the New York judge would provide the court with a needed perspective on business matters.

But the National Rifle Association, with four million members, opposed President Barack Obama’s nominee. They wrote that they see Sotomayor as a threat to gun rights.

The Senate seems virtually certain to confirm Sotomayor — before it begins its August recess — as the first Hispanic and just third woman ever on the highest U.S. court.

In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which held Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing last week, Bruce Josten, executive vice president at the Chamber, hailed the former courtroom lawyer turned appeals judge.

“Her extensive experience both as a commercial litigator and as a trial judge would provide the U.S. Supreme Court with a much needed perspective on the issues that business litigants face,” Josten wrote.

“Consistent with her Senate testimony, the Chamber expects Judge Sotomayor to engage in fair and evenhanded application of the laws affecting American businesses,” Josten added.

While Sotomayor appears to have a clear record on business matters, she has what’s seen as a murky one on gun rights. And at her Senate hearing, she followed tradition by deflecting questions about this and other divisive issues.

The NRA, however, concluded it had seen and heard enough. “We believe any individual who does not agree that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right (to bear arms) and who does not respect our God-given right of self defense should not serve on any court, much less the highest court in the land,” NRA leaders wrote Senate members

The NRA, which grades lawmakers according to selected votes, put senators on notice their political futures may be at stake. “Given the importance of this issue, the vote on Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation will be considered in NRA’s future candidate evaluations,” NRA leaders wrote.


Photo credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed

One comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

The NRA is overstepping its bounds. The NRA seems to think that they can buy (and actually appear to buy) politicians through donations. It has become too powerful through its lobbying and donations.

My father quit the NRA years ago complaining that it had become too political and that it had become an organization of extremists with the right to be judge, jury, and executioner.

NRA = not rational assn.

Posted by abby0802 | Report as abusive