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Statement of Glenn Sugameli, Senior Legislative Counsel for Earthjustice

On the cloture vote refusing to cut off debate on DC Circuit Nominee Miguel Estrada
March 6, 2003
Washington, DC —

"Earthjustice commends the Senators who voted today to uphold a fair, democratic process of reviewing lifetime federal judicial nominees, by refusing to rubber-stamp virtual unknown Miguel Estrada. The Senate has a crucial Constitutional advise and consent responsibility to examine the qualifications of all Presidential nominees to the federal courts and when a nominee such as Mr. Estrada refuses to answer Senators' questions, that role is undermined.

"Earthjustice has formally opposed the nomination of Mr. Estrada to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals because the Senate lacks the record needed to ensure that he would be a balanced, mainstream judge. Mr. Estrada is a stealth nominee with almost no public written record. He has repeatedly refused to answer Senators' questions about even his general views on legal issues including the environment and public health.

"The DC Circuit is the most crucial appeals court for environmental protection, with exclusive authority to rule on whether to enforce or strike down most national environmental safeguards. Its decisions are usually final, as the Supreme Court – the only court with higher authority – seldom reviews them.

"The American people want and deserve a fair and balanced judiciary. The public should not be expected to trust that a nominee they know little about will uphold reasonable federal environmental laws that protect their communities from air and water pollution and safeguard their natural resources for future generations.

"Forty-four Senators took a courageous stand against pressure to entrust a virtual blank slate nominee with a lifetime seat on our nation's second most important court. For that we commend them. We urge them to continue to play an active role in reviewing the President's nominees, to ensure that the Senate confirms only those nominees who will preserve the integrity of the federal judiciary with decisions based on fairness and honesty, not hostility to balanced safety, heath, and environmental protections."

Contacts

Glenn Sugameli, 202-667-4500, x. 221

About Earthjustice

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.