Bench Memos

Hatch and Graham Remember Miguel Estrada

On a day in which Sotomayor’s supporters are emphasizing her life story and the historic nature of her nomination as a Hispanic to the Supreme Court, Senators Hatch and Graham remembered another Hispanic judicial nominee, Miguel Estrada.  Senator Hatch noted that:

If a compelling life story, academic and professional excellence, and a top ABA rating make a convincing confirmation case, Miguel Estrada would be a U.S. Circuit Judge today. He is a brilliant, universally respected lawyer, one of the top Supreme Court practitioners in America. But he was fiercely opposed by groups, and repeatedly filibustered by Democrat Senators, the ones who today say these same factors should count in Judge Sotomayor’s favor.

It is worth remembering how the Democrats treated Estrada, whom they not only filibustered, but treated demonstrably differently than other non-minority nominees, and whom they viciously attacked as being insufficiently Hispanic.  I wrote about the shameful treatment at the time here, explaining how the disparate treatment to which Democrats subjected Estrada compared to then-Judge Roberts would violate anti-discrimination law if Title VII applied to confirmations, and Byron York wrote about how congressional Democrats went so far as to say that he was not a “true” Hispanic.  And yet it was a Democrat, Senator Leahy, who played the race card to start the hearings.

Robert Alt is the president and chief executive officer of The Buckeye Institute.