April 12, 2002

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Announces Groundbreaking Hispanic Judiciary Initiative

Washington, DC — The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) unveiled today a new Hispanic Judiciary Initiative to promote the appointment of qualified judicial nominees with records of having been involved in, supportive of, and responsive to the issues, needs, and concerns of the Hispanic community. Working with the White House and the Senate Judiciary Committee, the CHC will address the underrepre-sentation of Hispanics in the federal judiciary.

The CHC’s initiative includes evaluating and issuing recommendations on Hispanic judicial nominees and on nominees to federal benches in areas with large Hispanic populations. CHC support or opposition will be based on qualifications and experience, but the nominees’ positions on issues of importance to the nation’s Hispanic community will also be considered. 

“Through this unprecedented Hispanic Judiciary Initiative, the CHC will serve as a valuable resource throughout the judicial nomination process, beginning with the White House’s preliminary candidate selection process and continuing through the Senate’s confirmation process,” said Rep. Silvestre Reyes, Chair of the CHC. “To that extent, we have reached out and received a positive response from both the White House and the Senate. In particular, the Senate Judiciary Committee - which has already confirmed three of President Bush’s five Hispanic judicial nominees - has agreed to work with the CHC in its consideration of nominees.”

“As the White House and the Senate continue to work on the nomination and confirmation of judicial nominees to federal benches that impact the nation’s Hispanic community, it is important for the Hispanic Caucus to take on this new role. Our goal is quite simple - as a voice for the Hispanic community we want to help identify those qualified judicial candidates who best reflect our community and will bring needed diversity to the federal courts,” stated Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, Chair of the CHC Civil Rights Task Force.

“We’re pursuing this initiative so that when those candidates who merit the Hispanic com-munity’s support are identified, we can ensure that they are treated fairly and are not subjected to the stonewalling that caused Judge Richard Paez’s nomination to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to linger in political limbo for over four years as it did in a Republican-controlled Senate,” said Rep. Robert Menendez, Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus.

“While there is no official role for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in the judicial selection process, we firmly believe that the Caucus will prove a vital resource and that our participation and input will help ensure that pertinent concerns are addressed and the interests of the nation’s Hispanic community are thoroughly considered,” said Rep. Gonzalez.

Founded in 1976, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is an informal group of 18 Hispanic members of Congress dedicated to supporting and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanic Americans.  The CHC also monitors Executive and Judicial policies that affect the Hispanic community. 

The CHC’s Hispanic Judiciary Initiative will be headed by Congressman Charlie Gon-zalez, a former Texas State District Judge.

Return to the Frontpage