Hispanic judicial nominee grilled
Facebook Twitter Email

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee bashed President Bush's nominee for a federal court appeals position.

The criticism of Miguel Estrada centered on two fronts. One was on memos he drafted during his tenure at the Department of Justice. The other was on pressure he allegedly applied to reject Supreme Court law clerks deemed too "liberal."

The White House won't release the memos, citing separation of powers. They are seen as important by Democrats because Estrada worked for the Office of the Solicitor General, which represents the United States before the Supreme Court in all cases, including Indian law ones.

Estrada's views on political ideology were the focus of the latter complaint. Unnamed attorneys contacted by the Nation, a liberal publication, and The Washington Post claimed he would not recommend them for Supreme Court clerk positions to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who is often a swing vote on critical decisions, including Indian law ones.

Estrada at first denied making the comments. Later, he admitted he possibly could have, but only in jest.

Democrats are reluctant to act on Estrada's appeal for these reasons. He would be the first Hispanic to sit on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, which is evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.

The court unanimously affirmed U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth's December 1999 decision on the Individual Indian Money (IIM) trust.

Get the Story:
Lawmakers Press Nominee (The Washington Post 9/27)
Democrats raise issue of Estrada's politics (The Washington Times 9/27)
Bush Judicial Choice Imperiled by Refusal to Release Papers (The New York Times 9/27)
Username:, Password: