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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 6, 2000


Senators Gramm and Hutchison announced yesterday that they opposed the confirmation of Enrique Moreno, my nominee for a Texas vacancy on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Their claim that he lacks the necessary experience to serve on the Fifth Circuit is unconscionable. The American Bar Association, which has rated judicial nominees for Republican and Democratic Presidents since the Eisenhower Administration, unanimously gave Moreno their highest rating. The son of Mexican American immigrants and a graduate of Harvard Law School, Moreno was rated one of the top three trial attorneys in El Paso by state judges.

In rejecting Moreno's candidacy, the Texas Senators have ignored the strong endorsement of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Hispanic National Bar Association, and local law enforcement officials. This is not the first time that the Texas Senators have rejected an exceptional Hispanic candidate for this seat, which has been vacant for more than three years. Jorge Rangel was forced to withdraw after the Texas Senators refused to allow action on his nomination. By blocking qualified judicial nominees, Gramm and Hutchison have exacerbated the vacancy crisis on the Fifth Circuit. Their unjustifiable opposition to Enrique Moreno -- an exceptionally well-qualified Hispanic judicial nominee -- must not be allowed to stand.