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Press Release

    Don't Play Politics with Judicial Nominees

    02/10/2003

    Dear Senator:

    I write in regard to the continuing debate surrounding President Bush’s judicial nominee, Miguel Estrada. On behalf Citizens for a Sound Economy and our 280,000 members, I urge you to confirm Miguel Estrada to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Mr. Estrada’s illustrious academic career, his subsequent employment as a U.S. Attorney and Assistant U.S. Solicitor General, and his distinguished record and accomplishments in private practice qualify him for the vacant appellate court position.

    Miguel Estrada is a true example of an American success story. Born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Mr. Estrada immigrated to the United States as a teenager who spoke virtually no English. After conquering this roadblock, he graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia College in New York. He obtained his law degree at Harvard Law School (again graduating magna cum laude) and was editor of the Harvard Law Review. The depth of Mr. Estrada’s legal mind did not go unnoticed: he clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

    Unquestionably, Mr. Estrada possesses the legal expertise required of a nominee for the federal judiciary. The nominee is currently a partner with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP in Washington, D.C., where he is a member of the firm's Appellate and Constitutional Law Practice Group and the Business Crimes and Investigations Practice Group. Estrada previously was employed as Assistant U.S. Attorney and Deputy Chief of the Appellate Section for the U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York. In this position, he tried 10 cases as a prosecutor and argued 7 cases before the appellate court. Mr. Estrada was also an Assistant U.S. Solicitor General during two presidential administrations from 1992-1997. Finally, he has argued 15 cases – civil and criminal – before the U.S. Supreme Court.

    The pubic support surrounding Mr. Estrada’s nomination is broad and bipartisan. The American Bar Association (ABA) has given Mr. Estrada its highest rating for judicial nominees and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce are just two of many Hispanic and Latin American organizations that support his nomination; moreover, Seth Waxman, President Clinton's Solicitor General, and Ron Klain, Vice President Gore's counsel – both Democrats – praised Mr. Estrada’s professionalism and integrity.

    U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist in both his 2001 and 2002 yearly reports on the federal judiciary stressed that the nation’s judicial system is understaffed and overworked. The sluggish pace of judicial confirmations over the last few years has contributed to this delinquency. Recent calls by Democratic Senators to filibuster Estrada’s confirmation because he lacks the qualifications essential to the position clearly ignore Justice Rehnquist’s admonitions and Estrada’s academic record and his subsequent private and public legal accomplishments. We ask that you discern between the facts of Mr. Estrada’s qualifications and current political gamesmanship, and vote to confirm Miguel Estrada.

    If confirmed, Mr. Estrada would be the first Hispanic judge on the Court of Appeals for the D. C. Circuit. The nominee has received the highest recommendations from his superiors and peers. Notwithstanding Democratic opinions to the contrary, Mr. Estrada is qualified for the position, as the ABA has indicated. I urge you to support Miguel Estrada for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

    Sincerely,

    Paul Beckner
    President and CEO
    Citizens for a Sound Economy