Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz called out Democrats for filibustering black and Hispanic judicial nominees at Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing on Monday.
“The senior Democrats in this committee happily filibustered Judge Janice Rogers Brown, the very qualified African American woman nominated to the D.C. Circuit,” Cruz began. “And they did so precisely because they wanted to prevent Judge Brown from becoming Justice Brown, the first African American woman. Joe Biden was among the Democrats, the first African American woman nominated to the D.C. Circuit.”
Former President George W. Bush nominated Brown to the D.C. Circuit in 2003 but was immediately met with opposition by Senate Democrats, who argued that her reported ideological stances were “out of the legal mainstream,” The Washington Post reported. After two years, Brown was re-nominated and confirmed by a 56-43 vote.
The senator then pointed to Senate Democrats filibuster the nomination of Miguel Estrada, a Honduran immigrant nominated by Bush to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals. A memo to Democratic Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin called Estrada “especially dangerous” because “he is Latino, according to the Washington Times. (RELATED: POLL: Majority Of Americans Say Biden Should ‘Consider All Possible’ Supreme Court Nominees)
“They were explicitly racial, if you are Hispanic or African American and you dare depart from their political orthodoxy, they will crush you, they will attack you, they will slander you, they will filibuster you,” Cruz continued. “So this is not about race.”
The memos found that staffers for former Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy recommended that the nomination of Tennessee Judge Julia S. Gibbons be stalled until two affirmative action cases connected to the University of Michigan be decided, according to the Washington Times.
“The thinking is that the current 6th Circuit will sustain the affirmative action program, but if a new judge with conservative views is confirmed before the case is decided, the new judge will be able, under 6th circuit rules, to review the case and vote on it,” a staffer wrote.
Estrada withdrew his nomination in September of 2003, in the aftermath of the Democrats’ filibustering, CNN reported. Democrats celebrated by saying they will block any nominee “far beyond the mainstream.”