Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

First the Committee . . . Next to the Floor

The Washington Post offers this article today about the Senate Judiciary Committee finally voting D.C. Circuit nominee Miguel Estrada out of committee. The one piece of information that is somewhat new in the story is that Hatch is trying to get a full floor vote on Estrada by next week. My sources tell me that there could be a vote as soon as Tuesday. The Dems are threatening a filibuster, but look for members from border states and with large Hispanic populations to get cold feet. Even so, I don’t think that Senators Feinstein and Boxer will flinch from their lockstep devotion to liberal obstruction, thereby leaving themselves open to their anticipated negative votes on Estrada being used against them in their next respective elections.

The Post article itself demands a couple of clarifications. First, the article begins by using the term "[t]he Republican-run Senate Judiciary Committee . . . ." Last time I checked--and much to the Post’s chagrin--the entire Senate was "Republican-run." Post readers tend to be aware of such minor things like mid-term elections. The adjectival surplusage looks more like well-poisoning.

Second, we have the classic use of "scare-quotes" around "languishing"--a term Senator Hatch used to describe Mr. Estrada’s and other judicial nominees’ status during the interregnum Democratic control of the Senate precipitated by Senator Jeffords’s switch-in-time-that-saved-none. Yet languishing hardly seems like an inappropriate or partisan term to describe the 631 days that Mr. Estrada, who was deemed unanimously "well-qualified" by the ABA, has been forced to wait for a simple committee vote. Indeed, languishing is precisely the right term. The Judiciary Committee should therefore move expeditiously on Judge Cook, Mr. Sutton, and Mr. Roberts--all of whom have been waiting for 632 days for the Committee to do its duty and give them a vote.

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