"Hispanic or non-Hispanic, African American or non-African American, woman or man, it is wrong not to have a vote on
the Senate floor.!" That was the boisterous proclamation from Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle as recorded in the Congressional
Record, Oct. 28, 1999. It is a mantra that Democrats have utilized endlessly to position themselves as the self-appointed
sole supporters of women and minorities.
For years Democrats have used demagoguery in assaulting Republicans, labeling them racist and hate-mongers with their
complicit attacks because Republicans openly acknowledge supporting people based on their qualifications and (gasp)their ideological
principles. Conservatives have especially been skewered by liberal politicians and the mainstream media for that adherence
to their core beliefs.
Today, Senate Democrats, including liberal North Carolina Senator John Edwards, have commenced the unprecedented maneuver
of filibustering two presidential nominations for judicial circuit court seats. Miguel Estrada and Priscilla Owen are two
of the most qualified individuals who have ever been nominated for confirmation, yet both are being denied a vote on the Senate
floor with an unconstitutional impediment to hinder a process that was instituted by our forefathers.
Why are they taking a chance with this blatant obstructionism when they know it could further tarnish the image of the
Democrat party as obstructionists? Their reasoning that Mr. Estrada hasnt given them the answers they like or that they feel
Justice Owen might legislate from the bench doesnt fully give credence to the fact that they are turning away from their staunch
support of affirmative action.
Since the basic mandate of affirmative action is the advancement of individuals based simply on race or gender, then by
Democrats not promoting Mr. Estrada and Justice Owen because of ideological principles instead of their minority and female
status, Democrats have effectively categorized themselves alongside those racist Republicans they've chided for so long.
Senator Orrin Hatch(R) from Utah was repeatedly attacked with vemonous vitriol each time he questioned the qualifications
or ideology of a judicial nomination, especially when the nominee was a minority or a female. Yet in every case, after the
debate had ended, a vote was allowed on the floor of the Senate, even when Senator Hatch still had reservations about the
Which is exactly what should happen with these two well qualified individuals. Miguel Estrada and Priscilla Owen have
exceeded all the exhaustive qualifiers of committee and at least deserve a vote in lieu of the obstructionist filibuster.
Democrats should put aside their partisan politics and hatred for conservative Republicans long enough to give these two success
stories what every American dreams of...a chance!
Lee P. Butler