WaPo has a fine editorial today in which it denounces the Ralph Neas led Democratic plans to filibuster Estrada. It is worth quoting at length:
With the Estrada nomination due to come to the Senate floor today, [Democratic Senators] are contemplating a dramatic escalation of the judicial nomination wars. They should stand down. Mr. Estrada, who is well qualified for the bench, should not be a tough case for confirmation. Democrats who disagree may vote against him. They should not deny him a vote. . . . But a world in which filibusters serve as an active instrument of nomination politics is not one either party should want. Mr. Estradas nomination in no way justifies a filibuster.
A few more words on filibusters. On the Capitol Hill, most seasoned politicians understand that the power of the filibuster is in the threat. Actually using a filibuster carries risk. If you are unsuccessful in garnering the votes necessary to filibuster, then the next time you threaten to use the meneuver the threat will be viewed as toothless. If you are successful, then the threat becomes more powerful, however you open yourself up to a public backlash for being obstructionist.
Leahy and his cohorts have put themselves in a tough place. They have wedded themselves to special interests who are so outside the mainstream of the American public that they speak about "judicial armageddon," and therefore the Democratic leadership somehow feel obliged to charge the proverbial "filibuster" windmill. But doing so comes at great cost. Many Democrats will feel uncomfortable about voting against a Hispanic nominee for no better reason than that he may be a potential Supreme Court nominee. Others may worry about being labeled an obstructionist Congress. Others still may even have questions about whether this is an appropriate exercise of the Senates constitutional duty of "advice and consent." All of these concerns are justified.
Which leaves but one conclusion: bring on the vote.