Miguel Estrada got tired of the garbage going on in the Senate over his nomination. He’s out. This is a political victory for liberals because the last thing they want is a successful, influential Latino in a prominent position in the federal government who isn’t a liberal — who is a conservative. Their “minorities can’t make it without us” race warfare rhetoric loses strength when such a thing happens. When accused of blocking nominations of President Bush (which, of course, they are doing), they gladly point out that over 100 of Bush’s nominations have gone through. This admission actually proves the point that Estrada is being blocked because he is a Latino. Bush is, for the most part, a conservative. His nominations are, for the most part, conservatives. Is Estrada any more conservative than the other 100+ nominees who have gone through for a vote? No. The difference is that Estrada breaks the liberal notion that minorities need to be liberal.
However, this is not just Senate Democrats obstructing — this is Senate Republicans showing what gutless country club wimps they can be. The Democrats have successfully filibustered a court nomination without actually having to say up 24-7 doing the work. The Constitution mandates a simple majority for a court nomination — the Republicans have surrendered to the Democrats and ultimately allowed them to thwart the Constitution and demand that court nominations get a supermajority rather than a majority. The Constitution specifies what items require a supermajority vote in the Senate — court nomination is not among them. Senate Republicans have failed in their sworn duty to uphold and defend the Constitution. There are several solutions to the Democratic obstructionism that is going on; the most obvious of which would be to actually force the Democrats to go through weeks of non-stop floor debate. But they did nothing.
I can’t blame Estrada for calling it quits. Senate Democrats can’t feel shame for doing the kinds of things they always do. But Senate Republicans ought to feel very ashamed tonight for letting them get away with it.