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Conservative Opposition to Alberto Gonzales

June 30, 2003

Re "Right Wing Objects to Bush Aide as a Justice," June 23: The opposition by conservatives to the appointment of Alberto R. Gonzales to the federal bench unmasks their true position on the efforts to include Latinos in the Republican tent. Gonzales, like judicial nominee Miguel Estrada, is a graduate of a prestigious Ivy League law school. Unlike Estrada, however, Gonzales has actual judicial experience as a former justice of the Texas Supreme Court. Moreover, his position on various issues that came before the Texas court are on the record for all to see.

Gonzales served as general counsel to then-Texas Gov. Bush and is currently serving as White House general counsel to the president. His positions on affirmative action and a woman's right to choose are consistent with the majority of the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. This demonstrates that his approach to key national issues would follow legal precedents, i.e., Bakke vs. the University of California and Roe vs. Wade. The Republican rhetoric that the party is striving to include Latinos in its tent apparently excludes those who are truly qualified but independent thinkers. Senate Democrats have indicated that they would support Gonzales while they continue to oppose Estrada. Bush would be assured of approval of Gonzales by the Senate.

The question in the minds of many Latinos is whether Bush has the courage of his convictions to support the nomination of his White House general counsel to the federal bench as aggressively as he continues to support the lesser-qualified Estrada.

Joseph S. Avila

Attorney, Los Angeles

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