Univision’s coverage of the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court managed to weave a grand tale about the fearsome nuclear option, while entirely omitting any mention of the partisan Democratic filibuster against Miguel Estrada.
Here’s how Univision anchor María Elena Salinas framed the April 6th report on the end of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees:
MARIA ELENA SALINAS, ANCHOR, UNIVISION: Senate Republicans resorted today to an extreme measure in order to assure the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch as the ninth justice on the Supreme Court. They call it “the nuclear option”. It’s a rules change so that 50, instead of 60 votes, are required to confirm him. In that way, efforts by Democrats to block Trump’s nominee were unsuccessful.
The framing, as usual, gives away the game. After that inflammatory introduction, viewers have to go about two minutes into correspondent Lourdes Meluzá’s filed report in order to find out that the “extreme measure” was first deployed by Harry Reid in order to kill the filibuster on judicial appointments at the District and Circuit of Appeals levels. The report goes on to feature mournful takes by Democrats and Republicans alike, before closing out with a premonition of bipartisan rancor. Bob Menéndez’s bit about partisanship on the bench is especially laughable.
But Meluzá’s report misses the true genesis of the debate swirling around the nuclear option- the Democratic filibuster of President George W. Bush’s appointees to the Circuit Courts of Appeal, instigated and executed by the current Democratic Leader in the Senate- Chuck Schumer of New York. Univision’s digital coverage of the Gorsuch confirmation fight is slightly better in that the several reports do mention that there was talk of the nuclear option back in 2003. However, in a fascinating bit of whitewashing, no mention is made -throughout any of Univision’s platforms- of the man who endured the worst of the Democratic filibuster…Miguel Estrada.
One would think that Univision, the network that claims to be the “advocate for the Hispanic community”, would make mention of the fact that the filibuster was once used against a man who came into this country as a teenager and worked his way to the top of the legal profession, in order to bar him from the appellate bench on the basis of his Hispanic ethnicity (per the leaked memos, Estrada’s Latino heritage made him “dangerous”).
It’s not like Univision doesn’t know who Miguel Estrada is. After all, the network retained him as legal counsel in the Trump-Miss Universe lawsuit (which was eventually settled). Let the record reflect that the man is apparently good enough to fight for Univision in court but not good enough to have his story told to Univision’s viewers. Then again, Estrada’s story is counternarrative, inconvenient, and not good for business.
Shame on Univision for cutting Miguel Estrada out of its coverage of the Nuclear Option and of the partisan rancor that has infected our judicial nominating process. By doing so, the network denies its viewers the entire story, whitewashes history, and forfeits any claim of advocacy for the Hispanic community.
Below is a full transcript of the above mentioned report as it aired on Noticiero Univision on Thursday, April 6th, 2017.
MARIA ELENA SALINAS, ANCHOR, UNIVISION: Senate Republicans resorted today to an extreme measure in order to assure the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch as the ninth justice on the Supreme Court. They call it “the nuclear option”. It’s a rules change so that 50, instead of 60 votes, are required to confirm him. In that way, efforts by Democrats to block Trump’s nominee were unsuccessful. Lourdes Meluzá explains.
LOURDES MELUZÁ, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: By pushing the nuclear button, Senate Republicans cleared the way for confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, which is expected (to happen) tomorrow. The Democrats had blocked the vote and the Republicans change the rules for the first time in history for a Supreme Court nominee. Instead of 60 votes, now only 51 votes will be needed. It is a sad day for the Senate, says…
SENATOR BOB MENENDEZ (D-NJ): More important for the nation, because we are going to have Supreme Court justices that will be ideological to the extreme right, which is what the Republicans want to achieve. They were prepared to do this anyway.
LOURDES MELUZÁ, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: Not all Republicans celebrated the victory.
SENADOR JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): We destroyed two hundred years of tradition of requiring 60 votes, a bipartisan focus.
LOURDES MELUZÁ, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: The Democrats will never again block a Supreme Court nominee, said the Republican leader, and recalled that the Democrats used the same nuclear option in order to achieve the confirmation of federal judges in 2013. Others are concerned that the 60-vote requirement might be eliminated for all bills.
ISRAEL ORTEGA, REPUBLICAN ANALYST: I hope I’m wrong and this doesn’t happen, but the way we see both parties not working together, we can’t rule out the possibility that the filibuster could also be eliminated for legislation.
CHUCK SCHUMER, SENATE MINORITY LEADER (D-NY): The nuclear option signals the end of a long history of consensus for Supreme Court nominees.
LOURDES MELUZÁ, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: …and he predicted that this will trigger further conflicts.
LOURDES MELUZÁ, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: The vote for Judge Gorsuch will now be an easy one. He will be on the Court within a matter of weeks, but today’s decision will leave a trace of rancor and partisanship that will last for years. In the Capitol, Lourdes Meluzá, Univision
This post originally appeared on NewsBusters