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Estrada Vote Expected Wednesday; Democrats Urged To Filibuster

With the full Senate expected to vote Wednesday on Miguel Estrada, President Bush’s latest far-right judicial nominee, the Feminist Majority joins a growing list of civil rights, women’s rights and other progressive organizations that are urging Senate Democrats to filibuster a vote on Estrada.

“This is the first test of whether Democrats can block a right-wing nomination who refuses to tell the Senate Judiciary Committee any of his views on crucial issues,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority. “Have we learned nothing from Clarence Thomas?”

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has called Estrada “a far-right stealth nominee” because little is known about his viewpoints on such issues as women’s rights or civil rights. During his hearing before the Judiciary Committee last month, Estrada refused to answer questions about his position on abortion rights or basic civil rights. Estrada was asked whether he thought Roe v. Wade and Romer v. Evans (the case that struck down Colorado’s anti-gay rights measure) were correctly decided. He declined to answer, stating that he had not read the briefs, listened to the arguments or researched the issues. He gave a similar answer when asked about Supreme Court cases in the areas of environmental protection and labor rights.

Estrada has been nominated for a seat on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, widely regarded as the second highest court in the nation. The Senate Judiciary Committee barely approved his nomination last week in a party-line vote.

Despite the fact that Estrada is Hispanic, his nomination has been opposed by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. These groups have called Estrada “arrogant and elitist,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

TAKE ACTION Urge Senators To Filibuster Estrada

Sources:

Newsday 1/31/03; Atlanta Journal-Constitution 1/31/03; Feminist Daily News 1/29/03