As things now appear, President Bush’s latest nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Janice Rogers Brown, will meet the same fate as Miguel Estrada, the president’s last nominee for this court, who was forced to withdraw his name in September. By preventing a floor vote on Estrada through filibuster, the Democrats made confirmation of Estrada impossible, and we can expect them to do the same to Rogers.
What is going on here is sad and ironic and it is particularly instructive to examine the racial politics involved.
The lives of Janice Rogers Brown and Miguel Estrada capture everything that America is about. The founding of the United States and the struggles that we have undergone in all the years hence have been about preserving and defending freedom. Our ideal has always been a society guaranteeing equal protection under the law, where anyone can make it through merit and hard work.
Janice Brown, daughter of black Alabama sharecroppers, went on to finish law school at the University of California, serve in both the legislative and executive branches of the California state government, and was then appointed to California’s supreme court. Miguel Estrada immigrated to the United States as a teenager with scant knowledge of English. He went on to become a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Columbia University and a distinguished graduate of Harvard Law School, where he was editor of The Harvard Law Review.
So why has the NAACP opposed the nominations of both these outstanding Americans, calling them “right wing extremists.” Why has the chairman of the Black Caucus called Janice Brown “out of the mainstream of America”? Is there a black mother who doesn’t dream that her children will have a life of achievement like Janice Brown?
The problem, of course, is that Janice Brown and Miguel Estrada are conservatives. Brown’s Democratic interlocutors during her Senate judiciary-committee hearing were concerned that she is disdainful of government. Of course, so was Thomas Jefferson. It is no wonder that Janice Brown is disdainful of government as liberal Democrats conceive of it. She has made it in this free country, as has Miguel Estrada, by learning right from wrong at home and working hard. Someone forgot to tell them that you are not supposed to be able to do this if you are colored and poor.
It is, of course, important that political discourse be open and vibrant and that all views get out and on the table. Liberals as well as conservatives should have their say. But let’s also not forget that NAACP stands for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. If this truly were its mission, then the NAACP would be thrilled to see Janice Rogers Brown being sworn in as a new federal judge.
Truth be known, the politics of race is really about the race of politics. Black political organizations and the black political elite do not conceive as their mission to assure that no person of color is deprived of equal protection under the law and that all have equal access to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These organizations are dedicated to the liberal agenda of government dependency and they view blacks that reject this agenda as deviants. And so, a brilliant self-made black lawyer and judge, Janice Rogers Brown, is called “out of the mainstream of America” because she believes what she has lived: that the constitution exists to protect our citizens so that they may advance in a free society through hard work and merit.
Let’s hope that the Democrats stop trying to muffle the voice of the American people and allow one fine American an up or down confirmation vote in the U.S. Senate.