Gary Marx, executive director of the conservative Judicial Confirmation Network, said he saw a playbook for the campaign against Judge Sotomayor in the successful attacks on Lani Guinier, whose 1993 nomination to a top Justice Department post was withdrawn after an outcry over her writings arguing for alternative voting systems intended to better represent minorities.
â€œWe will see â€˜racial quotasâ€™ become a much bigger issue than they might have been had another nominee been brought forward,â€ Mr. Marx said.
But civil rights advocates, including Ms. Guinier, say times have changed in their favor, also citing Mr. Obamaâ€™s election. In an interview, Ms. Guinier said she saw the debate over Judge Sotomayorâ€™s nomination in part as an opportunity for civil rights advocates to push back against the kind of criticism that had thwarted her own nomination.
â€œIt is easy to understand the idea of viewing an individual on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin,â€ Ms. Guinier said, but race also is a social phenomenon of politics, history and economics that demand deliberate policy responses.
This is not surprising, as Sotomayor is well known for racist remarks that she thought better of after White House officials criticized her for them, years later.