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   Democratic Racism

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9/5/2003 12:00 am

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Opinion

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Entered 9/5/2003, Updated 9/5/2003

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... Given his record, why did these Democrats block Estrada's nomination? Put simply, because he is a Hispanic who broke from the party fold. First, the Democrats treated Estrada differently than non-minority nominees. In the D.C. Circuit, for example, John Roberts, a white applicant, was confirmed without fanfare, while Estrada was filibustered. But aside from ethnicity, there are few substantive differences between the candidates: Both were voted unanimously well-qualified by the American Bar Association; both went to prestigious law schools; both clerked for the Supreme Court; both worked at the Justice Department; and both went on to prestigious law firms where they argued numerous cases before the Supreme Court. And yet John Roberts was asked relatively few questions during his confirmation hearing, while Estrada was pummeled with over 200. Roberts, nominated the same day as Estrada, was confirmed by the Senate on a voice vote, while Estrada was denied the opportunity to even have a vote. ... Democrats will inevitably respond that they opposed Estrada because they believed that he was conservative. But they had less reason to believe he was conservative than Roberts. This demonstrates what is at the heart of the issue: They opposed him more vehemently because he was perceived to be a conservative Hispanic, and as such is thought to be a viable Supreme Court nominee.


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