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Ideology, Ethnicity and Judicial Appointments

October 03, 2002

Re "A Judicial Nominee's Dizzying Spin," Commentary, Sept. 29: To complain, as Frank del Olmo does, that the process of the nomination of federal judges has become too politicized is to misunderstand our history and dream of a mythological confirmation process that never existed. Underlying Del Olmo's commentary seems to be the surprising and unsupportable assumption that all Latinos are interchangeable, that whether you have a Samuel Paz or a Miguel Estrada on the federal bench makes no difference, so long as the surname is Latino.

The current administration has made ideology the primary factor in choosing federal judges in an effort to use the courts to force a reactionary change in our society. To identify and resist such an effort is not overheated "political melodrama" and far, far from politics as usual.

The vast majority of Americans would never vote for, or accept, the social changes--the evisceration of civil rights and antidiscrimination laws, the elimination of reproductive rights and environmental protection, the crippling of government's ability to protect individuals from corporate wrongdoing--that these ultraconservative nominees, such as Estrada, seek to accomplish through the courts. Why should we permit the federal bench to be filled with those who will use poorly understood, far-right legal theories to turn back the clock, whatever their ethnic background or gender?

Susan Lerner

Los Angeles

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When will nominees for judicial positions be presented based on their superior qualifications rather than racial background? In this particular case, I am appalled that Estrada has never even been in any judicial position for experience!

Julie Mullen-Browner

Culver City

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