Senators Affirm Constitutional Advise and Consent Duty,
Hold Firm Against Stealth Nominee Estrada in Face of Republican
- March 6 - Refusing to cave in to intense pressure from the White
House and Republican leaders, Democratic senators rejected an
effort to force a vote on the nomination of Miguel Estrada to
the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Estrada has refused
to answer many questions about his approach to the Constitution
and the White House has refused to release documents that would
allow senators to more fully evaluate his fitness for a federal
judgeship. People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas
called the vote a victory for the Constitution and the American
people, and a rebuff to the Bush administration's efforts to pack
the federal appeals courts with right-wing ideologues and frustrate
the Senate's advise and consent role. Neas said there would be
many more tests of senators' resolve in the coming weeks and months,
as long as the Bush administration refuses to engage in bipartisan
consultation and compromise on judicial nominations.
This vote was
tremendously important for the future of the federal judiciary
and for the rights and freedoms Americans count on the courts
to protect. It is a major loss for the Bush administration and
its political allies, who have tried to bully senators into submission
with outrageous threats and accusations.
We salute the
courageous leadership of Senators Tom Daschle, Harry Reid, Judiciary
Committee Ranking Member Pat Leahy, his committee colleagues Charles
Schumer, Ted Kennedy, and Richard Durbin, and all the other senators
who stood up to the intimidation tactics employed by the Bush
White House and Senate Republican leaders. Especially disturbing
were the repugnant efforts of a number of Republicans to characterize
opponents of Mr. Estrada's confirmation as anti-Hispanic.
We also applaud
the several hundred thousand Americans, including 40,000 supporters
of People For the American Way, who contacted senators and recorded
their opposition to Mr. Estrada's confirmation.
the American Way hopes that selected filibusters, public pressure,
and other measures will lead to true bipartisan consultation,
negotiation, and compromise on judicial nominations. Only a bipartisan
solution fully supported by President Bush can solve a problem
created by the unprecedented ideological blockade against Clinton
administration Circuit Court nominees by the Senate Republican
leadership from 1995 to 2000 (35 percent of those nominees were
blocked) and by President Bush's efforts to fill those judicial
vacancies with judges in the mold of Antonin Scalia and Clarence
by Republican leaders to invoke "cloture" failed to receive the
60 votes required to cut off debate and force a final vote on
the nomination. It came in the midst of an intense lobbying and
public relations campaign by the White House, Senate Republicans,
and their political allies, a campaign marked by accusations that
opposition to Estrada's confirmation was grounded in anti-Hispanic
that a significant majority of Hispanic legal, civil rights, and
worker rights organizations, as well as a huge and diverse coalition
of civil rights, women's rights, labor, environmental protection
and other groups, are opposed to Estrada's confirmation because
they are concerned that as a federal judge he would work to restrict
protection of individuals' rights.
information on the Estrada nomination and other federal judicial
issues, visit www.pfaw.org/independent_judiciary.
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