FLASHBACK: Republicans Claimed Opposition To Miguel Estrada Was Anti-Hispanic

May 28, 2009 12:02 pm ET

When Democrats opposed Miguel Estrada's nomination to the federal bench, Republicans were quick to paint the opposition as anti-Hispanic.  Now that the tables are turned, will they change their tune?

In 2003, Republicans Decried Opposition To Miguel Estrada As Anti-Hispanic

As the Washington Monthly's Steve Benen pointed out:

In 2003, a variety of Republicans argued that Democratic opposition to a Hispanic judicial nominee was necessarily evidence of Democratic racism. Now that conservatives are worked up over Sonia Sotomayor, I wonder whether Republicans are prepared to be held to the same standard.

Here Are Even More Examples Of Republicans Painting Democratic Opposition To Miguel Estrada As Anti-Hispanic:

Republican Sen. John Kyl Said "I See This, Really, As A Slap At Hispanics." As reported by the Washington Times: "Republicans have seized on Mr. Estrada's stalled nomination to drive a wedge between the Democratic Party and Hispanic voters, whose ranks are growing faster than any other minority group in America. 'I see this, really, as a slap at Hispanics,' Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, said Wednesday." [Washington Times, 3/14/03; emphasis added]

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch: "Some Of The Opponents Of Him Are Racist." According to the Boston Globe, "Senator Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said 'some of the opponents of him are racist,' but quickly added that he would not characterize any Democratic senators in that manner. He suggested that Democrats are irked because Estrada is a conservative among Hispanics, a culturally and politically diverse group that Democrats like to count as their own." [Boston Globe, 2/27/03; emphasis added]

Fmr. Republican Sen. Trent Lott: "They Don't Want Miguel Estrada Because He's Hispanic." As reported by the Associated Press, "President Bush has nominated 98 people for openings on federal trial and appellate courts. The Democratic-controlled Senate has confirmed 42 and rejected one. 'They don't want Miguel Estrada because he's Hispanic,' Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi said Wednesday." [Associated Press, 4/11/02; emphasis added]

Fmr. Republican Sen. Rick Santorum: "This Is Complete Discrimination." As reported by the Associated Press: "'What you are seeing here is an assault by the Senate Judiciary Committee on anyone who is a conservative,' said Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. 'If you are a conservative and a minority the bar goes up a lot higher.' 'This is Clarence Thomas all over again,' Santorum added. 'This is complete discrimination.'" [Associated Press, 4/11/02; emphasis added]

Republican Rep. Henry Bonilla Said Opposition To Estrada Was "The Biggest Anti-Hispanic Crusade This City Has Ever Seen." As reported by the Washington Times: "Senate Democrats yesterday again blocked the nomination of lawyer Miguel A. Estrada to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The vote sustained for the second time a Democratic filibuster of the Estrada nomination. His supporters responded with accusations of racism and President Bush declared that 'the judicial confirmation process is broken.' 'It's a sad day,' Rep. Henry Bonilla, Texas Republican, said after the vote. 'This is the biggest anti-Hispanic crusade this city has ever seen.'" [Washington Times, 3/14/03; emphasis added]

In 2003, The Conservative Committee For Justice Ran An Ad Implying Opposition To Miguel Estrada Was Due To Racial Intolerance.  In 2003, the conservative Committee for Justice ran a television ad stating: 

American [sic] is a monument to the willing where we can dream and build, despite race, creed or color. But there's still intolerance. President Bush nominated Miguel Estrada to be the first Hispanic ever to serve on the federal appeals court in Washington. But the radical left says he's not liberal enough.

For the first time in history, they're blocking his nomination with a filibuster. Call the Senate Democrats. Tell them it's time for intolerance to end. Anything less is offensive, unfair, and not the American way. [Fox News, Hannity & Colmes, 2/19/03]

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