Miguel Estrada has bowed out:

Bush had been pushing the Senate to approve Estrada for a place on the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. Senate Republicans have failed seven times to get a vote on the confirmation, which Democrats continued to block.

“The time has come to return my full attention to the practice of law, and to regain the ability to make long-term plans for my family,” Estrada wrote in a letter delivered to the president on Thursday and obtained by The Wall Street Journal.

As John Hudock observes,

The Dems have managed to effectively block the nomination of Miguel Estrada to the Federal Appeals Court. So I guess with this success, it will now require an effective 60 Senate votes for ‘Advise and consent’, although I’m sure the Dems will scream bloody murder when the Republicans use it for the first time on one of their nominees.


Sadly, we’ve seen quite a spate of bad precedents from both parties of late: Changing political party affiliation only months after getting elected, changing the entire balance of power in the Senate; swapping candidates chosen in the primaries for more appealing candidates at the last minute; trying to redraw congressional districts in mid-cycle; trying to recall a non-criminal governor only months after his re-election–and probably other examples I’m forgetting–are all within the letter but not the spirit of the rules by which the game has been played for decades. Such strategies not only erode the civility of the process, making it much more bitter and divisive than necessary, but threaten to undermine its legitimacy.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. JohnC says:

    Well, as always, careful what you wish for.

  2. Paul says:

    Hey James– File this under “Paul’s whacky points to ponder.”

    Ya know what is wrong with this country????

    We have no common challenge.

    Thru much of this country’s history, simple survival offered a certain level of challenge. Now with the wealth of the nation (as we both point out) the biggest health problem our poor people have is obesity.

    Picking up history about 1900, we had the “World’s War,” the Great Depression, and WWII to keep us all busy. After that came the baby boom and building a massive infrastructure.

    Now, we have no central task. (follow my words precisely…) That is why people were so happy about the RESPONSE to 9/11. They thought we all had something to do. Seeing congress singing made people ecstatic… Not at the non-partisan nature– But because we had a challenge and we were raising up to it.

    But it turned muckier then “Let’s get the Japs who bombed Pearl Harbor.” There was no “call to action” like we had for WWII. Mostly, we civilians sit and watch.

    So here we are, technologically advanced, quite wealthy and bored.

    A core value of this place called American is overcoming obstacles. With no problems to unite us, it is no wonder we are turning more partisan.

    I guess the best way to sum it up is that collectively…

    We need a hobby.


  3. lefty skeptic says:

    Perhaps the relative political mellowness of the late 70’s and 80’s is the aberration. Here are two periods that seem at least as mean-spirited as today –

    – The 50’s
    – The other 50’s (pre-Civil War)

    Maybe things calmed down for a while due to exhaustion from Vietnam, Watergate, and so on …