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Saturday, June 20, 2009

SUPREME COURT

Conservative Icon Backs Sotomayor

Kenneth W. Starr, investigator of President Bill Clinton and longtime pillar of the conservative legal establishment, has endorsed President Obama's choice for the Supreme Court.

During a question-and-answer session after a speech Thursday in Los Angeles, Starr said he "supported the nomination" of Sonia Sotomayor, according to a statement issued by his office at Pepperdine University Law School, where he is dean.

Starr told the gathering at Loyola Law School that he "thinks very well" of Sotomayor, whose nomination has triggered strong opposition from conservative groups. The statement added that Starr still wants "a variety of issues" explored at Sotomayor's Senate confirmation hearings.

Starr is a former Republican-appointed federal appeals court judge and U.S. solicitor general. His affinity for Sotomayor may surprise his former colleagues on the political right, including former attorney general Edwin Meese III, who is a key organizer of the opposition to Sotomayor. Meese and Starr served together in the Reagan administration, where Starr was a top Justice Department official.

Also yesterday, Sotomayor informed the Senate Judiciary Committee that she had resigned from Belizean Grove, an organization of professional women. GOP senators had questioned her membership, saying the organization discriminates on the basis of sex.

-- Jerry Markon

WASHINGTON

Obama Promises Immigration Reform

President Obama said at a Hispanic prayer breakfast on Friday that he is committed to passing "comprehensive immigration reform," although he did not give the audience a timeline for doing so.

Hispanics supported Obama by a wide margin in the 2008 election, and many of their leaders have grown impatient waiting for a president busy with the economic crisis to move on their agenda. Their primary interest is immigration reform, an initiative that involves economics, race and a history as a nation of immigrants, which Obama invoked at the Esperanza National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Washington.

In remarks, he reiterated his position that reform should include tighter border control and a path for millions of undocumented immigrants to achieve legal status and citizenship.


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