Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Estrada filibuster excessive

It has now been a month since the Democrats began an unprecedented filibuster against Washington D.C. Court of Appeals nominee Miguel Estrada. While our country prepares for war, the Democrats are continuing their obstructionist tactics started last session.

Alexander Hamilton said the purpose of the Senate’s advice and consent role in confirming judicial nominees is in eliminating “unfit characters.” Does Mr. Estrada fit into this category?

Not at all. Miguel Estrada truly personifies the American Dream. An immigrant from Honduras at the age of 17 with little knowledge of the English language, Estrada has managed to excel at both Columbia and Harvard. He has served as a clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy. He is one of the most qualified candidates ever nominated to the appellate court and has argued 15 cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.


The liberal American Bar Association has given Estrada its highest rating, which Democrats often refer to as the “gold standard” for judicial appointments.

He also has the support of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), which has said on his behalf that, “His confirmation would also help to address the chronic under-representation of Hispanics in US circuits.”

What, you might ask, is the reason behind the filibuster?

This is difficult to answer, for it seems that each week the Democrats have a new reason for opposing Estrada, and each week those objections are proven groundless.

The Democrats now refuse to vote on the nomination until Estrada’s private recommendations are released from the Justice Department. However, every living Solicitors General (including four Democrats) have strongly voiced their disapproval of this request, saying that it would seriously undermine our nation’s judicial system.

It would be nice to think that we are witnessing the efforts of many Jimmy Stewart-like statesmen, valiantly standing up for the American people against the machinations of a corrupt Republican Senate. But this is clearly not the case.

Although any attempt to determine the true reasons for this filibuster is pure speculation, two issues seem to stick out as primary causes.

Out of all the president’s nominees, only Estrada is being subjected to such an unfair standard. A commercial now running captures the true essence of the problem. In the commercial, a young Hispanic man goes to apply for a job. The owner of the establishment removes the “Help Wanted” sign from his window and informs the young man bluntly: No Conservative Hispanics Need Apply.

The Democrats pretend to favor inclusiveness. However, the diversity they want is only skin-deep. Because Estrada is opposed to affirmative action, he somehow loses his minority status. The Democrats are all for minorities, unless that person disagrees with their narrowly defined liberal view of the world.

Anyone following this story understands another driving motivation behind the Democratic filibuster.

During a celebration of the 30th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, six Democratic presidential candidates came to pay homage to National Abortion Rights and Action League: Pro-Choice America. The subject of judicial nominees came up, and each candidate who was willing demonstrated their submission to NARAL’s agenda of preventing any candidate not openly pro-abortion from sitting on a federal bench.

That night Kate Michelman, president of NARAL, announced her opposition to any judicial nominee who has not professed his or her allegiance to their pro-abortion agenda, saying that, “The burden must be on the nominee to demonstrate that he or she is committed to upholding these rights.”

The Democrats are unable to formulate a coherent message on the economy or foreign policy, yet they find common ground with an organization whose sole purpose is killing babies? Disgraceful.

The obstructionist tactics of the Democrats is one of the primary reasons they were hammered in the 2002 elections. Instead of learning from their mistakes, they are not only continuing these same tactics, but risk alienating the Hispanic Community, now the largest minority group in the nation.

Even the left-leaning Washington Post has called the Democratic attacks against the Estrada nomination as “repugnant as they are incoherent. Underlying it all is the fact that Democrats don’t want to put a conservative on the court…It’s long-past time to stop these games and vote.”

The more serious issue is the precedent being set. If the Democrats are successful in filibustering the president’s nominee, such a strategy will likely become common practice in the Senate. Any judicial nominee whose views one party disagrees with will block the people’s business for months and months. Do you think, when the Democrats someday regain control of the presidency and the Senate, the Republicans would hesitate to engage in these same tactics?

The obstructionists in the Senate are making a mockery of the Constitution. If the Democrats feel Mr. Estrada is unqualified, then vote against him. But on the eve of war, these obstructionists should show a little more respect for the Constitution and allow this highly qualified man to come up for a vote.

Anthony Carver ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in political science.

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