Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied

Confirm Estrada Now

Statement By 60 Plus Association President Jim Martin

Washington, DC — Way back on May 9 of 2001, some 643 days ago, President Bush nominated Miguel A. Estrada to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The 60 Plus Association said then — and says now — “Bravo!”

Mr. Estrada would be the first Hispanic in history to sit on the District’s Court of Appeals, viewed by many as the most important and prestigious Court of Appeals in the land. His nomination would be a huge event for the Hispanic community, an ever-expanding segment of the United States. He has worked at the Justice Department under both Republicans and Democrats and has shown a commitment to upholding the integrity of the law. He has argued 15 cases before the Supreme Court — and all before reaching the age of 40! He deserves the “well qualified” rating bestowed upon him by the American Bar Association, their highest possible evaluation. Attorneys from both parties who know Mr. Estrada are convinced he’ll be a fair and honest judge, following law rather than personal opinion.

While Democrats controlled the Senate, federal judgeships languished. Ignoring the obvious — that judicial vacancies were creating a crisis in our court system — partisan politics ruled the day in the 107th Congress. Democratic leadership applied a litmus test checking special interest groups for approval and putting Bush nominees through difficult hurdles. While no one gets 100 percent of judges confirmed promptly, 88% of Clinton’s judges were confirmed in his first year compared to a miniscule 20% of Bush’s in his first year. This is, and was, politics of the worst order. Now, with the 2002 mid term elections, Republicans have once again gained control of the Senate, making spirited floor debate possible and an up-or-down vote.

Mr. Estrada — and some 30 other Bush judicial nominees — now have their chance for confirmation (or rejection) and 60 Plus and the senior citizens we represent will all be the better for that. But some of these judicial nominees could yet be subjected to a filibuster. This is nonsense!

60 Plus urges Democrats to stop the filibuster harangue and do the right thing. Mr. Estrada has been waiting almost two years and deserves an up or down vote on the Senate floor.