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Down Memory Lane

If you don’t read anything else today, read Byron York’s searing account of what happened last time a brilliant Hispanic jurist was nominated to a high-profile appellate post:

Born in Honduras, [Miguel] Estrada came to the United States at 17, not knowing a word of English. He learned the language almost instantly, and within a few years was graduating with honors from Columbia University and heading off to Harvard Law School. He clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, was a prosecutor in New York, and worked at the Justice Department in Washington before entering private practice.

Estrada’s nomination for a federal judgeship set off alarm bells among Democrats. There is a group of left-leaning organizations — People for the American Way, NARAL, the Alliance for Justice, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the NAACP, and others — that work closely with Senate Democrats to promote Democratic judicial nominations and kill Republican ones. They were particularly concerned about Estrada.
In November, 2001, representatives of those groups met with Democratic Senate staff. One of those staffers then wrote a memo to Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin, informing Durbin that the groups wanted to stall Bush nominees, particularly three they had identified as good targets. “They also identified Miguel Estrada as especially dangerous,” the staffer added, “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.”

It was precisely the fact that Estrada was Hispanic that made Democrats and their activist allies want to kill his nomination. They were determined to deny a Republican White House credit, political and otherwise, for putting a first-rate Hispanic nominee on the bench.

They succeeded, too. They filibustered Estrada for years and he never made it onto the bench. So, when you see Barack Obama–who voted to filibuster Sam Alito!–piously denouncing “the political posturing and ideological brinksmanship that has bogged down this process” in the past, remember Miguel Estrada. Somewhere on this earth, there is a worse hypocrite than Barack Obama. I just can’t think who he is offhand….

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