Filibustering on Estrada. (Comment)

By Nichols, John | The Nation, March 3, 2003 | Go to article overview

Filibustering on Estrada. (Comment)


Nichols, John, The Nation


Few of George W. Bush's judicial nominees have generated as much opposition as has Miguel Estrada. The AFL-CIO, the NAACP, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club and the American Association of University Women have all come out against placing Estrada on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Despite the best efforts of Senate Judiciary Committee chair Orrin Hatch to portray the Estrada nomination as an example of Republican empowerment of Hispanics, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project reviewed Estrada's record on civil rights issues and announced their opposition. "A thorough review of his sparse record indicates he would probably make rulings that roll back the civil rights of Latinos. Simply being a Latino does not make one qualified to be a judge," argues MALDEF president Antonia Hernandez.

Now Senate Democrats, who blocked Estrada in committee while they were in control, are taking a stand. Minority leader Tom Daschle's announcement on February 11 that at least forty-one Democrats would support a filibuster to prevent a floor vote on Estrada's nomination set up the most serious confrontation yet over the President's drive to pack the federal courts with conservative judicial activists. Democrats overcame their caution about mounting floor fights to block judicial nominees in large part because of the refusal by Estrada and the White House to share basic information about the nominee.

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