The Senate’s much-anticipated hearing this week for judicial nominee Miguel Estrada is reviving sharp divisions in the Hispanic legal community over his nomination, blunting White House efforts to promote Estrada as a nominee popular among Hispanics.

“Whenever a Hispanic nominee comes to bat, it becomes highly politicized and everyone goes bonkers,” says Gabriela Lemus, director of policy and legislation for the League of United Latin American Citizens. Lemus says her organization, known as LULAC, urged the Senate to give Estrada a hearing but as of press time had not taken a stand on his nomination — even though the Bush administration lists LULAC as a strong supporter of Estrada for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

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