Stick around this city long enough and you're pretty much guaranteed to see a political resurrection. The latest example is Miguel Estrada. His name should ring a bell to anyone who's familiar with the "Justice for Judges" campaign to un-stall the filibuster of former Pres. George W. Bush's judicial nominees.
This week, Senate Republicans announced that they hired Miguel Estrada to represent them in a legal challenge to Pres. Obama's use of recess appointments. At issue is whether the president circumvented the Senate and it's role to offer advice and consent on political nominees - a debate that goes to the heart of the constitutional balance of powers. Critics say last January's appointments represent an unprecedented "power grab" since the Senate was technically in a "pro forma" session.
Republicans describe Estrada, who's argued at least 19 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, as one of the country's foremost appellate advocates. He's also the first of Pres. Bush's judicial candidates to withdraw his nomination after Senate Democrats prevented an up or down vote on his nomination. (At the time, many viewed him as a potential Supreme Court nominee - and perhaps the first Hispanic to serve on the bench.)
Now that Estrada has agreed to file a friend of the court brief on behalf of Senate Republicans, he not only calls into question the actions of Pres. Obama but senior Democrats in the U.S. Senate. They have been vocal in their support for the man for whom the president chose to use the recess appointment, Richard Cordray, to head up a new consumer protection bureau.
As a former nominee, Estrada knows a thing or two about the nomination process. Moreover, he's intimately familiar with Constitutional law. He even co-chairs his law firm's appellate and constitutional law practice group. We'll have to wait and see who falls on the winning side of the debate this time around.