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July 22, 2005
SchumerTo Use Estradification Ploy

Senator Chuck Schumer has decided to continue his quest for obstructionism in the John Roberts confirmation process despite the tentative endorsements of centrist Democrats of George Bush's SCOTUS nominee. He plans to pursue the same kind of documents that the Bush administration and former White House counsels of both parties said were inappropriate for release during the aborted Miguel Estrada confirmation:

Democrats said yesterday they will demand that the Bush administration hand over internal legal memorandums written by Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. while he was a government lawyer -- something the White House has refused to do in the past.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said he broached the topic during a meeting yesterday with Judge Roberts, who replied that any decision about his writings as deputy solicitor general would be made by the White House.

Republicans on Capitol Hill said the request is not likely to be granted.

Demands for those same documents -- deemed legally privileged by this and previous administrations -- led to the rejection of Miguel Estrada, an earlier Bush nominee to a lower court.

Democrats have used this tactic to stall the nomination of John R. Bolton, Mr. Bush's nominee for ambassador to the United Nations.

Schumer may not get very far in his Estradification -- what some Republicans now call this tactic -- as it looks like he won't have the votes to sustain a veto for it. However, it does point out that the Democrats, especially the more lunatic Kennedy/Durbin/Schumer wing, still want to rely on such discredited maneuvers to attempt to wrest power from the Executive and the Senate majority. They think nothing of damaging attorney-client privilege to get it, either.

If nothing else, this pathetic threat reveals the prior requests even more clearly as pointless fishing expeditions, mere excuses on which Democrats could hang filibusters. During the Estrada hearings, if one recalls, the Democrats claimed that they needed the documents to determine Estrada's views on issues that he refused to answer -- appropriately, as legal ethics require that nominees not comment on issues that they might face as a jurist, in order to maintain their independence. Next, they used the same tactic on John Bolton under the premise that he bullied subordinates and misused classified information to that effect, despite a bipartisan denial of that allegation by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Schumer wants to do the same thing to Roberts, and this time he hasn't even waited for the hearings to start nor to make up a false allegation to provide cover. He wants the documents because >i>he wants a fight, even though others in his own caucus have clearly decided against one. Hopefully, enough of them will drop away to embarrass Schumer, to the extent he can be embarrassed, and Estradification will eventually disappear from DC's lexicon.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 22, 2005 5:53 AM

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