« Quick news commentaries | Main | The Donald Trump Final Exam Generator »

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Miguel Estrada on Merrick Garland

I’ve seen a number of pieces on the Garland nomination link to this dispiriting—and totally accurate—take on judicial nominations by my old boss Miguel Estrada (written with Benjamin Wittes). President Bush, you may recall, appointed Estrada,  one of the greatest Supreme Court advocates of his generation and an influential conservative, to the D.C. Circuit.  Senate Democrats successfully filibustered his nomination in 2003—a preemptive strike against a candidate widely viewed as a future SCOTUS pick.

Miguel is now speaking out in favor of confirming Judge Garland. Jan Crawford tweets, here, that he “look[s] forward to [Garland’s] service on the Court” and calls Garland "superbly qualified."  (That’s also in keeping with the spirit of his take on the nomination process in this letter, written in support of Elena Kagan’s SCOTUS candidacy).

Posted by Mark Moller on March 16, 2016 at 08:32 PM in Law and Politics | Permalink


Not quite the same as being there but audio:


He has a long history of appellate advocacy in and out of the government with a good reputation even if he had an off day. OTOH, given the vote breakdown, might have been a longshot case anyhow.

Justice Arthur Goldberg comes to mind -- he had an infamously horrible oral argument after leaving the Court but I read he did a good job as an advocate during the Steel Seizure Cases.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 20, 2016 2:10:04 AM

I saw Estrada argue Strickler v Angelone back in 1998/99. He was representing Strickler, a Va death row inmate on federal habeas (the appealate issue was 4th Am or 5th Am). I was a 3L at the time. The clinic I was in wrote an amicus brief in support of Strickler. All we knew was that some hot shot from a big firm was arguing. In short, it was the single worst oral argument I have ever seen. I or any of the other law students in my group could have done better. Seriously. We were literally mouthing words trying to will him to get it together. It was that bad. We left that day not knowing who the arguer was beyond his name. None of us was surprised when Strickler lost and was executed. Perhaps Stickler was the aberration. But I was shocked when Estrada was nominated to the DC Circuit amidst the glowing talk of his skill as a SCOTUS advocate.

Posted by: BC | Mar 19, 2016 10:35:42 PM

In hindsight, that was a misguided filibuster, even compared to some of the other ones. But, so it goes -- no side is pure on that front. It surely gave people on that side of the ideological line a key name to keep on tossing out there. Appreciate various conservatives coming out in support of Garland. Not surprising with Orin Hatch et. al. tossing his name out as a good choice in past nomination situations.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 16, 2016 9:49:55 PM

Post a comment