'He Is Latino'
Why Dems borked Estrada, in their own words.
Now that the Senate has concluded its 30-hour talkathon on judicial filibusters, we thought readers might like to peer inside the filibustering Democratic mind, such as it is.
This plunge into the murky deep comes from staff strategy memos we've obtained from the days when Democrats ran the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2001-02. Or, rather, appeared to run the committee. Their real bosses are the liberal interest groups that more or less tell the Senators when to sit, speak and roll over--and which Bush judges to confirm or not. Here are some excerpts:
November 6, 2001/To: Senator Dick Durbin
"You are scheduled to meet with leaders of several civil rights organizations to discuss their serious concerns with the judicial nomination process. The leaders will likely include: Ralph Neas (People For the American Way), Kate Michelman (NARAL), Nan Aron (Alliance for Justice), Wade Henderson (Leadership Conference on Civil Rights), Leslie Proll (NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund), Nancy Zirkin (American Association of University Women), Marcia Greenberger (National Women's Law Center), and Judy Lichtman (National Partnership). . . .
". . . The primary focus will be on identifying the most controversial and/or vulnerable judicial nominees. The groups would like to postpone action on these nominees until next year, when (presumably) the public will be more tolerant of partisan dissent
November 7, 2001/To: Senator Durbin
"The groups singled out three--Jeffrey Sutton (6th Circuit); Priscilla Owen (5th Circuit); and Caroline [sic] Kuhl (9th Circuit)--as a potential nominee for a contentious hearing early next year, with a [sic] eye to voting him or her down in Committee. They also identified Miguel Estrada (D.C. Circuit) as especially dangerous, because he has a minimal paper trail, he is Latino, and the White House seems to be grooming him for a Supreme Court appointment. They want to hold Estrada off as long as possible
February 28, 2002/To: SENATOR [Kennedy]
"Ralph Neas called to let us know that he had lunch with Andy Stern of SEIU. Andy wants to be helpful as we move forward on judges, and he has great contacts with Latino media outlets . . ."
April 17, 2002/To: SENATOR [Kennedy]
"Elaine Jones of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund tried to call you today. . . . Elaine would like the Committee to hold off on any 6th Circuit nominees until the University of Michigan case regarding the constitutionality of affirmative action in higher education is decided by the en banc 6th Circuit. . . . The thinking is that the current 6th Circuit will sustain the affirmative action program, but if a new judge with conservative views is confirmed before the case is decided, that new judge will be able, under 6th Circuit rules, to review the case and vote on it."
June 12, 2002/To: SENATOR (Kennedy)
"...Ultimately, if [Chairman Pat] Leahy insists on having an August hearing, it appears that the groups are willing to let [Timothy] Tymkovich [10th Circuit] go through (the core of the coalition made that decision last night, but they are checking with the gay rights groups)."
Mr. Tymkovich apparently got the gay OK.