I’m pretty frustrated with the runaround that federal judicial nominee Miguel Estrada is getting from the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee. I believe that judges who put their ideology ahead of interpreting the law as it is written (like Justice Scalia) should not be confirmed to the bench, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with Estrada. The two knocks against him seem to be that memos he prepared when he worked in the Solicitor General’s office (during Clinton’s presidency, for what it’s worth), and that he has been anonymously accused of blocking applicants to clerk for Justice Kennedy for being too liberal. Surely Democrats can do better than this. Anonymous accusations have no place in the process, and no living former Solicitor General thinks it’s acceptable to request Estrada’s memos. The Democrats need to save their ammo for more pernicious candidates.
The bottom line here is that the 5th Circuit Court is split 4-4 between Republican and Democratic nominees, and the Republicans were pretty savage in preventing Clinton’s nominees from getting onto the court. Now the Democrats don’t want to let Bush’s nominee give the Republicans a majority on that court. While being equally petty may work from a game theory perspective, I wish the Democrats wouldn’t go that route.