Skip to comments.Estrada deserves fairness, not a filibuster
Posted on 02/28/2003 2:07:33 PM PST by laureldrive
San Diego Union-Tribune February 28, 2003
Estrada deserves fairness,not a filibuster
by Harold Johnson *
'There's no reason to mince around this, we're not going to allow an up or down vote on Miguel Estrada." With that defiant flourish, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid assumed point-man role in the Senate Democrats' scheme to filibuster a presidential nominee for a federal circuit court judgeship. If Reid has his way, Harvard Law magna cum laude grad Miguel Estrada an immigrant who has overcome many obstacles in his life will have to overcome yet another: He'll need to win the votes of 60 of the 100 senators, a supermajority, in order to be confirmed to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Denying Estrada a traditional vote is undemocratic, unprecedented and unfair. Back when the filibuster was used by the likes of Strom Thurmond to bottle up civil rights legislation in order to keep African-Americans down, the hue and cry was loud and justified. Now, Reid and cronies are using the filibuster to keep a talented Hispanic attorney in his place apparently because they think he might be too conservative for their liking. I'm half expecting to see the Sen. Foghorn Leghorn cartoon character joining them to bluster away at the podium as they try to drown the Estrada nomination in an unending river of rhetoric.
This is no ordinary nominee, and no ordinary judgeship. Miguel Estrada is an inspiration for young people with dreams, from any background but particularly for newcomers to America and members of ethnic minority groups. Dedication and hard work brought him success, and his example points the way for others.
A native of Honduras who immigrated to the United States at age 15, he graduated with high honors from Columbia College before going on to Harvard, where he was a law-review editor. He clerked on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, and for Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.
For five years in the 1990s he was an assistant to the U.S. solicitor general. Because this was in the Clinton administration Justice Department and because his supervisors gave him rave job evaluations it is hard to figure why Reid and company are so hostile to him. True, some hard-left lobbying groups have Estrada in their crosshairs, but why should senators bow to those zealots? No one has offered any evidence that Estrada is anything other than a sober-minded, by-the-book man of the law.
For anyone who cares how federal regulations are enforced, or federal lands governed, the makeup of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is important. Located in Washington, D.C., it handles appeals in cases involving federal bureaucratic management, everything from Endangered Species Act enforcement to federal protections for the disabled. This is a court that needs top-grade legal minds such as Miguel Estrada's.
If a potential client said he'd only hire me as his attorney if I showed him some memos I'd produced for someone else in another case, I'd have to say, "sorry, those are privileged." Yet this is precisely what the get-Estrada crowd are demanding of him. They want to see confidential memos that he prepared for a previous employer the Justice Department. Because he can't turn them over, the Estrada-bashers exult, "aha got you!" They've manufactured a neat, crafty excuse to deny him an up-or-down vote, "no reason to mince around this," in Reid's words.
There's a wee bit of irony in all this. Under what you might call "Reid's rules," a simple majority vote isn't enough for a judicial candidate whom Reid or left-wing activists don't like. But by that calculus, Harry Reid himself wouldn't be in the Senate today. In his 1998 Senate election, he didn't get even 50 percent of the vote. He "triumphed" by a mere 428 ballots out of approximately 415,000 cast. You might think this particular senator would be somewhat embarrassed to suspend normal democratic procedures for a judicial nomination. You might think "Landslide Harry" would be the last senator to insist that a distinguished Hispanic attorney needs a supermajority 60 percent of the vote in order to take the seat to which President Bush has nominated him.
* Johnson is an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation in Sacramento, a firm dedicated to limited government. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.
I guess what we need is a graphic of three water fountains inside the Senate building: one says "Republicans," one says "Democrats," and one says "Hispanics."
Even those of us outside of Nevada should call Harry Reid and demand he stop his racist filibuster. Let them hear the word "racist" a thousand million times until they tremble in fear.
Good article. Harry Reid shouldn't be in the Senate next time around, either. People who live in his state should let him know this.
Siobhan, before you get so excited about supporting Estrada, maybe you should consider some information:
"Estrada served four years under Bill Clinton and argued many cases on behalf of the federal government. He places the facts of the case above his own political ideology. In Now v. Scheidler, he filed a brief before the Supreme Court on behalf of the National Organization for Women against a coalition of anti-abortion groups. He argued that anti-abortion protesters were in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).Miguel Estrada, nominee to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
I just woke up to give my daughter some cough medicine and couldn't help but read up some.
I'm too tired to check if I missed this in the article or if it was sarcasm, but I can hardly agree with it.
You'll hardly find someone who is more appreciative of the gifts bestowed upon us by our Latino neighbors, but I truly hang on to the concept of one nation, one people and one language they are united in.
The sledgehammer of "diversity" has only been used to drive our people part as Americans, not help them unite. The melting pot concept for this nation doesn't work unless those who come here are not willing to acclimate to our culture. Sure, that involves maintianing their old traditions and cultural heritage, but they need to be Americans first.
It may take a generation or so, it usually does, but they need to acclimate. We should not be permissive to those who would enable further division among our people. I am more than happy to culturally and socially segregate those we cannnot "assimilate". It weakens us as people, as Americans, to be divided by language.
Now I can speak three dialects of Portuguese and a fair amount of Spanish. Love it. My children are part Hispanic but all American. They'll be raised loving both cultures, but not a chance they'll ever entertain that Americans speak any other language than English. Spanish is simply a family and "hot babe" sort of thing.