This blog post by Jan Crawford Greenburg is gold from beginning to end:
Leahy tried to blame Republicans for failing to get [Miguel Estrada] confirmed when they had a majority — and then tried to blame Estrada himself, for not answering questions because he may have been “distracted” by a high-paying job offer.
??? Did I hear that right?
Estrada had (and has) a high-paying job, at Gibson Dunn, which he was willing to leave to go on the federal bench. And, regardless, Estrada answered questions every bit as thoroughly as John Roberts, who was confirmed to the DC Circuit–despite his not turning over the same DOJ documents the Judiciary Committee wanted from Estrada.
Estrada was blocked by Democrats for one reason — the same reason they blocked Bush’s other minority and women nominees: They knew he would be on the short list for the Supreme Court if confirmed. And they knew it’s a lot easier to block a nominee at the appeals court level, when no one is paying as much attention as the do to the Supreme Court. (Republicans are seeing that now with Sotomayor.) It was a deliberate, thought-through strategy.
Estrada should be on the Supreme Court right now. And failing that, he should be testifying at the Sotomayor hearings, about the shoddy way he was treated by Democrats because of his race.
It won’t happen, of course. Republicans always pull their punches at hearings for Democrat judicial appointees. Don’t take my word for it — take Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s. She recently told Emily Bazelon:
I hope that these hearings for Sonia will be as civil as mine were and Steve Breyer’s were. Ours were unusual in that respect.
Indeed — because those were the only hearings for Democrat appointees since the 1960s. Again, that’s a left-leaning justice saying that.
Republicans caved on Estrada, and now they are set to confirm Sotomayor without making a real ruckus about the way Estrada was treated — and about Sotomayor’s claims to be better (not just different or more diverse) because of her gender and ethnic makeup.
Pathetic. Is it any wonder that the GOP is so lacking in an enthusiastic base?