Democrats' Selective Scrutiny on Race and Gender

Over the last few months Democrats have been shocked — SHOCKED — that anyone might try to label them as anti-women or anti-minority or anti-Hispanic for their vitriolic and adamant opposition to some of President Bush’s judicial nominees. The names Priscilla Owen, Miguel Estrada, and Janice Rogers Brown jump to mind.

They are appalled at the treatment they’ve received from conservatives who would question their motives for voting against women or minorities who are smart, articulate, and influential conservatives.

The Senate Leftists appear to think it highly offensive to even suggest that their opposition to some of these fine nominations could have anything remotely to do with race or gender.

Of course, these liberals had no problem making gender and race bias comments about conservatives when their President was making judicial nominations.

Consider just a few examples from some prominent Democrats during the Clinton Administration:

Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt.):

    I have been concerned for the last several years that it seems women and minority nominees are being delayed and not considered. (Congressional Record, S7791, June 29, 1999)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.):

    . . . women and minorities have an inordinately difficult time having their nominations processed in an orderly and expeditious way. I don’t think that befits this body. (Congressional Record, S11015, September 16, 1999)

Sen. Leahy:

    Unfortunately, in the last couple years, women and minorities have been held up longer than anybody else on these Federal judgeships. (Congressional Record, S11014, September 16, 1999)

Sen. Leahy:

    I have been concerned for the last several years that it seems women and minority nominees are being delayed and not considered. (Congressional Record, S11017, September 16, 1999)

Sen. Ted Kennedy (Mass.):

    The delay has been especially unfair to nominees who are women and minorities. Last year, two-thirds of the nominees who waited the longest for confirmation were women or minorities. Already, in this Congress, the Senate is on track to repeat last year’s dismal performance. Of the 11 nominees who have been waiting more than a year to be confirmed, 7 are women or minorities. On the 50th anniversary of President Truman’s appointment of the first African American to the Court of Appeals–Judge William Hastie–the Republican leadership should be ashamed of this record, particularly given the caliber of the distinguished African American, Latino, and female nominees waiting for confirmation. (Congressional Record, S11102-11103, September 21, 1999)

Sen. Leahy:

    Let us have the same fairness on the other side of the aisle . . . especially for nominees who are women and minorities. I have observed before that if you are a minority or if you are a woman, this Senate, as presently constituted, will take far, far longer to vote on your confirmation than if you are a white male. That is a fact. That is fact, something that started becoming evident a few years ago and has now been confirmed in a nonpartisan report.

    Let me repeat that. If you are a minority, if you are a woman, you will take longer to be confirmed than if you are a white male, by this Senate as presently constituted. (Congressional Record, S11794, October 1, 1999)

Sen. Leahy:

    Let us bring them up and let us remove this notoriety the Senate has received, the notoriety established and emphatically proven, that if you are a woman or a minority, you take longer to get confirmed, if you ever get confirmed at all. That is wrong. We should be colorblind; we should be gender blind. Most importantly, we should be fair. (Congressional Record, S11794, October 1, 1999)

Sen. Leahy:

    I would bet you that the same people who are holding these nominations back from a vote will go home . . . and give great speeches about the democracy of this country and how important democracy is and why we have to allow people to vote and express the will of the people–except in the Senate and, apparently, except if you are a minority or a woman. (Congressional Record, S11795, October 1, 1999)

Sen. Barbara Boxer (Calif.):

    . . . [T]here have been some independent studies that show, sadly, that if you are a minority, or if you are a woman, you do not seem to get looked at by the Senate; you do not seem to get acted on. You hang around; you wait around for a vote.

    This is not a reputation the Senate wants. We want to give everyone a chance, and these are two candidates, a woman and a minority, who are so qualified that they were voted out in a bipartisan vote of the committee. (Congressional Record, S11871, October 4, 1999)

Sen. Leahy:

    [After the vote defeating the nomination of Ronnie White] I am hoping–and every Senator will have to ask himself or herself this question–the United States has not reverted to a time in its history when there was a color test on nominations. (Congressional Record, S11919, October 5, 1999)

Sen. Tom Daschle (S.D.):

    I rise to express how saddened I am by the party-line vote against Judge Ronnie White today. I had sincerely hoped that today would mark the beginning of a bipartisan attempt to clear the backlog of federal judicial nominees and begin to fill the vacancies that are rampant throughout the federal judiciary. I was mistaken. Instead, we got a party-line vote against a qualified minority judge coupled with a continued refusal to schedule votes on other qualified minority and women nominees. [???]

    This vote wasn’t about the death penalty. This vote wasn’t about law and order. This vote was about the unfair treatment of minority judicial nominees. This vote tells minority judicial candidates “do not apply.” And if you do, you will wait and wait, with no guarantee of fairness. (Congressional Record, S11919, October 5, 1999)

Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.):

    . . . I still find myself very troubled by [the] rejection [of Ronnie White]. I find myself troubled because we do need diversity on our bench. We need to, in my judgment, try to have more African Americans on the bench. (Congressional Record, S11921, October 5, 1999)


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