Estrada Calls It Quits

Miguel Estrada (search) has at least temporarily has abandoned his dream of serving as a federal judge because liars savaged him on one side and cowards deserted him on the other.

Estrada came to America from Honduras at the age of 14, speaking no English. He graduated eight years later with honors from Columbia; and three years after that, from Harvard Law School.

He distinguished himself through careful and thoughtful legal work in the Bush and Clinton administrations, and earned tribute from members of both parties. He also tried to meet congressional demands for information, producing more documentation than any nominee since Clarence Thomas.

When Democrats said they wanted to know more, he offered to answer any and all questions. Guess how many senators took up the offer? Two: Senators Kennedy and Durbin.

Undeterred by facts, Democratic leaders depicted Estrada as an extremist unwilling to cooperate. The crusade was mendacious, fallacious and disgraceful -- and they know it. It's interesting to note, parenthetically, that while Democratic presidential candidates pandered vigorously for Hispanic votes Thursday night, not one had the courage to defend an Hispanic embodiment of the American dream.

Meanwhile, the president didn't so much as chip a fingernail for Estrada -- a Rose garden ceremony here and a one-liner there, do not qualify as Herculean efforts. And Senate Republicans, bound by arcane rules, could do little more than beg Democrats to play fair. Now, given the track record: if these Republicans came to you and asked you to serve, would you say yes?

If Republicans want to find culprits for Estrada's shabby treatment, they might want to begin by looking in the mirror. And if they really care about doing right by Estrada -- they ought to make sure his name crops up again -- with the next Supreme Court vacancy.