Remembering Miguel Estrada

It is times like this where it is important to remember Miguel Estrada, the lawyer who, if it wasn’t for Democrats, would have probably been Bush’s pick for the Supreme Court, making him the first Hispanic on the Supreme court.

From an old article by Alberto Gonzales,

Second, the confirmation of John Roberts also dramatically exposes the double standard being applied by Senate Democrats to the president’s other D.C. Circuit nominee, Miguel Estrada. The career records of Roberts and Estrada are strikingly similar. Both were unanimously rated well-qualified by the American Bar Association. Both have argued numerous cases before the Supreme Court, including as attorneys in the solicitor general’s office. Both have devoted large portions of their legal careers to public service and also been partners at major Washington law firms. Both have clerked for Supreme Court justices. Both have the strong support of prominent Democratic attorneys who served in high-ranking positions in the Clinton administration. Neither has served previously as a judge or a professor, and therefore neither has written widely about his personal views on legal issues. Both have served instead as superb, well-respected and fair-minded lawyers for public and private clients throughout their careers.

Despite the great similarities between Roberts and Estrada, 45 Senate Democrats have treated them very differently. Senate Democrats never requested confidential case memoranda written by Roberts from his time in the solicitor general’s office. Yet they are insisting on reviewing memoranda written by Estrada in the solicitor general’s office, as a condition of ending a four-month filibuster of his nomination. Consistent with judicial independence and the traditional practice of judicial nominees, Senate Democrats also did not demand that Roberts answer questions about his personal views on legal and policy issues before they voted on him. Yet these senators are apparently demanding that Estrada answer such questions as a condition of ending the filibuster.

The 45 Senate Democrats who are filibustering Estrada’s nomination are applying a double standard. There is no rational or legitimate justification for the disparate treatment of Roberts and Estrada — particularly for the use of an extreme and unprecedented filibuster against Estrada, who would be the first Hispanic to serve on the D.C. Circuit and has the clear support of a majority of senators. The president has asked that the Senate Democrats halt the filibuster, stop the delays and allow an up-or-down vote on Estrada. As the president has said, let each senator vote as he or she thinks best, but end the double standard and give the man a vote.

10 Responses to “Remembering Miguel Estrada”


  • It is not like Estrada is the only judicial nomination to have been fillibustered. There were nominees of all ethnic backgrounds and genders who were fillibustered. I’d say the demorats were equal opportunity fillibusterers. Without evidence you can’t say well I can’t think of anything else so it must be racism especially among Seanators without a history of bias.

    Estrada did not answer any questions so it required subpoenas of his records, Roberts was more forthcoming.

  • Exactly. My sentiments as well.

  • If the Democrats had been “equal opportunity fillibusterers” as Michael claims, John Roberts and Miguel Estrada would have been treated exactly the same. They weren’t! It does not mean that the Democrats are racists, it only goes to show that they wanted to deny President Bush the opportunity to elevate an extemely well-qualified Hispanic to the highest courts in the country. Gonzales is right that the Democrats applied a double-standard. Basically, if you are Hispanic or African-American (think Janice Rogers Brown) or a woman (Priscilla Owen), the Democrats are going to make sure that the President cannot put you in positions of prominence in our judiciary. In their mind, if you are a minority, you have no business being a conservative, and if you are, they’ll punish you so you learn not to stray.
    As for John Roberts being more forthcoming, according to Chuch Schummer, speaking after the announcement last night, John Roberts was not forthcoming enough and that’s why he plans to get in the way of this nomination as well.

  • The difference is, and it’s such a pet peeve of mine when someone doesn’t know, is that Estrada was extremely qualified for the position.

    On some of the judges Bush nominated, a Democrat could have made the claim that they weren’t qualified enough, but not with Estrada. He was very qualified, Columbia University, Harvard, Law Clerk, Worked in the Clinton Administration, etc…that had he been confirmed, he would have been one of the most qualified judges sitting on an appeals court, and the Supreme court, had he been nominated to the Supreme Court.

    In fact, that is why both sides of the aisle is commending Bush for picking Roberts, because he is so overly qualified, he is considered a giant in his field. The very type of people one wants on the Supreme court. But if you look at Estrada’s record, it almost identically parallels Roberts.

    As far as the questions Estrada wouldn’t answer, they were all case related. A judge is not supposed to answer those questions, especially if a judge wants to be impartial when a case like that comes up to his court. You may disagree, you may think that he should have answered the questions anyway, but it is a fact of history that NONE of the Supreme Court justices now sitting on the Supreme Court, including the two that Clinton nominated, had ever had to answer those questions. Democrats are constantly breaking precedence here. In addition, Roberts, who has about the same background as Estrada, didn’t have to answer the questions either.

    The real reason Estrada was not allowed to get confirmed is because he is Latino, and the last thing Democrats want is for Bush to nominate a Latino to the Supreme Court, making Democrats look even more anti-minority.

  • First of all, why are people so edgy about saying something or someone is racists? A rose by any other name is still a rose…

    Second, HP, while I agree with your assessment of inequal treatment for Estrada, do you have any links to establish more firmly the link between his inequal treatment and his race? I don’t doubting it, but I just think because people [generally read as “white people”] are so edgy about identifying anything as being racially motivated, it always helps to have the concrete examples to point out.

  • Yeah, follow the link I linked to above. It can also be found here. Be sure to follow all the links inside as well.

  • Let’s hope they don’t do to Roberts what they did to Estrada. It would have been good to have Estrada on the court. For me, not because he was Hispanic or from Honduras (my adopted homeland) but because he was qualified, and a strong originalist when it comes to the constitution.

    Truly what was done to this honorable and fine profesional was a dark moment in the history of the Senate.

  • Good links. Now I remember reading your prev. post on that. Maybe you could add that as an update to the main text of your post.

  • HP,

    I have been reading up on Roberts and he seems very qualified, (I still like Garza!). I do notice that it doesn’t seem he is catching as much flak as Estrada and Brown (which is good) but I just have this worry that he might be another Souter or O’Conner (not a strict constructionist or originalist). I guess I worry that it is a snow job for the next swing vote. I hope I am wrong.

  • Yeah, I share your worry as well, but it is posts like this that ease my fears.

Leave a Reply