Do you remember Miguel Estrada? Back in 2001, Miguel Estrada was a nominee for the United Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. Unfortunately, Miguel Estrada never became a judge. His crime? He was a Latino Republican who liberals believed was on the fast-track for the Supreme Court.

Despite graduating Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School and serving as the Assistant U.S. Attorney and Deputy Chief of the Appellate Section at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Miguel Estrada’s nomination to the United Court of Appeals was effectively killed. Then in the minority, Senate Democrats mounted a successful filibuster under Minority Leader Tom Daschle preventing Miguel Estrada from even getting the courtesy of receiving a simple up or down vote.

The minority party was well aware that Miguel Estrada would have the votes necessary to gain confirmation. Why stop him? It was later revealed in internal Memos (warning PDF) addressed to Minority Whip Dick Durbin that liberal activist groups pressured Democrats to prevent the confirmation of Estrada whom they viewed as “especially dangerous” because “he is a Latino, and the [Bush] White House seems to be grooming him for a Supreme Court appointment.” In other words, they sought to stop him in order to prevent Bush from nominating a Latino to the Supreme Court. Subsequent memos suggested that Democrats on the Judiciary Committee and leadership agreed to filibuster because Estrada was “likely to be a Supreme Court nominee” and “[t]he Democratic base is particularly energized over this issue.”

Apparently, attacking Hispanic conservatives is perfectly understandable and all part of due-diligence. But if conservatives examine the record of a liberal judge for the highest court in the land, it’s racism?