Democrats Haunted by Failed Nomination of Hispanic Nominee
But it was Senator Lyndsey Graham's remarks that struck a nerve with Democrats. Here is an excerpt from Graham's speech (courtesy of Politico):
No Republican would have chosen you, Judge; that's just the way it is. We would have picked Miguel Estrada. We would all have voted for him. And I don't think anybody on that side would have voted for Judge Estrada, who is a Honduran immigrant, who came to this country as a teenager, graduated from Columbia magna cum laude, Harvard, 1986, magna cum laude and Law Review editor, a stellar background like yours, and that's just the way it was.
He never had a chance to have this hearing. He was nominated by President Bush to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which I think most people agree is probably the second highest court in the land, and he never had this day.
These comments proved to be too much for Chairman Leahy, who interrupted the proceedings in order to "clarify"
Now it was obvious to all observers that the Democrats feared Estrada would be a very likely nominee to the Supreme Court if a vacancy were to appear, which would have given the Republicans the chance to nominate the first Hispanic to the Court, thereby forcing Democrats into the difficult position that Republicans are now facing as opponents to Sotomayor's nomination. So they decided to filibuster Estrada's nomination and were ultimately successful in stonewalling his nomination to the Circuit Court and potentially the Supreme Court. And of course, Republicans are the racists now.