Antonia Hernandez, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) has added her voice to the chorus of those opposing Miguel Estrada’s nomination to the Court of Appeals because he’s not Hispanic enough. (Link may require registration) She calls him “an unqualified Latino” and says he “has neither demonstrated that he understands the needs of Latino Americans nor expressed interest in the Latino community.”
MALDEF has a long document on its web site explaining its opposition to Estrada. I was particularly struck by the following prominent objection, summarized in this section heading: “Estrada would probably question the role that Latino non-profit organizations play in representing the interests of the Latino community.” Who knows. Perhaps Estrada believes that MALDEF, representing as it does only real and authentic Hispanics, is not justified or authorized to speak for the entire 37 million or so Hispanics (real and otherwise) in the country.
A second prominent heading is also interesting: “Estrada would most likely always find that government affirmative action programs fail to meet the standard of serving a compelling interest.”
Estrada indicated that he had not raised the issue of diversity in places where he has worked. When asked whether he would hire Hispanic clerks as a Circuit Court judge, he responded that he would not set out to hire people of his same background; it would be a question of whether he hit if off well with the applicant.
Imagine that! Estrada said he would evaluate each clerkship candidate individually, with no racial or ethnic pre-judgments, and would not promise to hire only “people of his same background”!
One can readily see why MALDEF doesn’t like him.