Estrada Meets With Senate Republicans

by Andrew Stiles

Attorney Miguel Estrada will speak to Senate Republicans during their weekly lunch meeting Tuesday, a source tells National Review Online

Estrada represented Senate Republicans in their successful legal challenge against President Obama’s 2012 recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a unanimous ruling in January of this year against the Obama administration, arguing that the president’s appointment of three members to the NLRB was an unconstitutional abuse of executive power. Obama’s attempt to define “recess,” the court ruled, “would demolish the checks and balances inherent in the advice-and-consent requirement, giving the President free rein to appoint his desired nominees at any time he pleases.” 

The court’s ruling, minority leader Mitch McConnell has argued, also cast “serious doubt” on the constitutionality of Obama’s recess appointment of Richard Cordray to head the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Needless to say, it was an embarrassing blow to the president, and an inauspicious start to his second term.

For Estrada, who plans to update GOP senators about the status and implications of the ongoing legal challenge, the victory was especially sweet. A former assistant to the solicitor general, Estrada was nominated by George W. Bush in 2001 to serve on the D.C. Circuit Court. However, Democrats filibustered his nomination for more than two years, until Estrada ultimately withdrew from consideration in September 2003.

In 2004, leaked documents revealed the utterly cynical motives behind Democrats’ and liberal activists’ efforts to thwart Estrada’s nomination. A November 2011 staff memo sent to Senator Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) described Estrada as politically “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.” Democrats could not abide a Republican president nominating the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice.

It’s worth keeping in mind, at least, when Democrats complain about how unfair and “unprecedented” it would be (hint: it wouldn’t) if Republicans decide to filibuster the nomination of Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense. 

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