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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Nominate Estrada

During the Roberts hearings, the dems have gone out of their way to tout Roberts' qualifications, many democratic senators noting it time and time again. As this NYT article notes (HT: Howard), they've set themselves up to oppose the O'Connor replacement, not on ideological grounds, but based on qualifications. They can be more insistent that the nominee be forthcoming with answers to questions since he or she would not be as "qualified" as Roberts.

So Bush is caught between his base requiring a strong conservative, maybe significantly more conservative than Roberts, and the political pressure to hire a woman or minority. And this new issue of qualifications could complicate some of his options to get both a conservative and a minority, since many of them could be considered less qualified than Roberts.

The answer? Miguel Estrada. His bio:

From 1992 until 1997, Mr. Estrada served as Assistant to the Solicitor General of the United States. He previously served as Assistant U.S. Attorney and Deputy Chief of the Appellate Section, U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York. In those capacities, Mr. Estrada represented the government in numerous jury trials and in many appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Before joining the U.S. Attorney's Office, Mr. Estrada practiced corporate law in New York with Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. . . .

In December 2004, Washingtonian Magazine named him one of the top constitutional law lawyers "who could become one of the legends of the Supreme Court bar." In 2004, Chambers & Partners described Mr. Estrada as a "distinguished lawyer of great poise and standing," and named him as one of a handful of attorneys that it ranked in the top tier among this country's leading appellate lawyers.

Mr. Estrada served as a law clerk to the Honorable Anthony M. Kennedy in the U.S. Supreme Court from 1988-1989 and to the Honorable Amalya L. Kearse in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1986-1987. He received a J.D. degree magna cum laude in 1986 from Harvard Law School, where he was editor of the Harvard Law Review. Mr. Estrada graduated with an A.B. degree magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1983 from Columbia College, New York. . . .
Sound familiar? He is a little younger than Roberts, probably not quite as highly regarded, but he's definitely qualified. He hasn't been a judge, but Roberts was only on the bench for a couple years. He's conservative, he's a hispanic, I like it.

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