One of the common wingnut accusations about Democratic hypocrisy because they opposed Mike (who was then suddenly called Miguel) Estrada is that Democrats refused to give give him a fair hearing. On This Week today, Chuck Schumer responds:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Schumer, how do you respond to this charge of hypocrisy and double standards? You led the charge against Miguel Estrada when he was trying to -- when he was nominated for the appeals court. There were internal memos among Democrats, citing as one possible reason the fact that he would be an Hispanic elevated to the appeals court. Are you using a different standard for Judge Sotomayor than you used for Mr. Estrada?
SCHUMER: Absolutely not, and let me explain why. First, Estrada was never a judge, so we had no way to judge what his record would be in the best way to judge it, cases that we had ruled on. And so when we asked him questions, he said absolutely nothing. He said, I cannot answer this question, I cannot answer that question. In fact, Judge Sotomayor has answered more questions on hearings already, because of her two confirmation hearings, than Estrada said. So we had totally nothing to do on with Estrada.
What we said about Miguel Estrada is, if he talked a little bit about his judicial philosophy, we could give him a fair hearing. He absolutely refused. He had no record as a judge. The two standards are like night and day.
Justice Roberts, Justice Alito, they answered questions far more extensively than Estrada did, and I think most commentators said they learned a lesson from Estrada, that you have to answer some questions about your judicial philosophy, particularly when you don't have a record as a judge.
CORNYN: Well, George, I think -- I take a contrary view, as you might imagine. I think this is pretext. I mean, Miguel Estrada immigrated from Honduras. He couldn't speak English, when he was 17 years old, came here, graduated from the two top schools in America, and rose to the very top of the legal profession. And yet, he was filibustered by Democrats who denied an up-or-down vote in the United States Senate.
Now, can you imagine if the shoe were on the other foot today?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Is filibuster on the table today?
CORNYN: Well, I think it's really premature to say that, or to speculate. That's why I...
STEPHANOPOULOS: So it's possible that Republicans will filibuster?
CORNYN: I'm not willing to judge one way or the other, George, because frankly, we need to not prejudge, not pre-confirm, and to give Judge Sotomayor the fair hearing that Miguel Estrada, and, indeed, Clarence Thomas were denied by our friends on the other side of the aisle.
SCHUMER: Let me say this, George. I think when my Republican colleagues -- and I think they have approached this in an open-minded way -- when they see her record of excellence -- she's legally excellent -- of moderation. She is not a far left-wing judge. Business Week said her record on business was moderate. The Wall Street Journal called her mainstream. And then her compelling history, I think she's virtually filibuster-proof when people learn her record and her story.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me finish up with Senator Cornyn. Your colleague, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, has already said he believes that she will be confirmed. Do you see anything standing in the way of Judge Sotomayor's confirmation right now?
CORNYN: Well, there are a lot of important questions. We've talked about some of them this morning. We need to know, for example, whether she's going to be a justice for all of us, or just a justice for a few of us. And, you know, this promise of equal justice under the law is not just a motto emblazoned above the Supreme Court, this is the standard. And indeed, by ignoring a genuine constitutional issue about reverse discrimination in the New Haven firefighter case, you know, the comments she made about the quality of her decisions being better than those of a white male -- I mean, we need to go further into her record to see whether this is a trend, or whether these are isolated and explainable events.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And we'll be doing that. Gentlemen, thank you both very much.