Taxpayers Will Continue to Pay for Logjam of Cases Stuck in Vacant Courts

WASHINGTON – DC Circuit Court nominee Miguel Estrada today withdrew his nomination, after 2 ½ years of delays by Tom Daschle and Senate Democrats. Estrada was one of the eleven appeals court nominees President Bush sent to the Senate on May 9, 2001. Over the course of two years, Estrada never received an up-or-down vote in the Senate, due to repeated Democratic filibusters, despite the fact that he would have been confirmed easily.

Democrats criticized Estrada heavily for not discussing sensitive details of his work in the U.S. Solicitor General\’s office, despite the fact that every living solicitor general – Democrat or Republican – voiced their support for Estrada\’s position on the issue. Democrats – who often take minority liberalism for granted – went so far as to question whether Estrada was truly Hispanic, given his constructionist judicial philosophy. Estrada is a Honduran immigrant.

"This is truly a sad day for American taxpayers," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist. "The Democrats\’ vile, snakepit tactics not only scuttled an impeccable nominee, but continue to contribute to a logjam of cases stuck in courts suffering from unprecedented vacancies. Who pays for that? The taxpayer, of course." Norquist is the President of Americans for Tax Reform.

Estrada graduated from Harvard at the top of his class, argued 15 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, and received a unanimous rating of "well-qualified" from the American Bar Association.

Senate Democrats continue to filibuster the nominations of Priscilla Owen (nominated on the same day 2 years ago as Estrada) and Bill Pryor, and are expected to give the same treatment to nominees Carolyn Kuhl and Janice Rogers Brown.

Meanwhile, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has classified 27 vacancies as "judicial emergencies."