Meet Fernando Rodríguez Jr., Trump's Latino judicial nominee
The Trump Administration has nominated Rodriguez for the Southern District Court of Texas.
To the surprise of the skeptics, the Trump Administration has stepped out of its choreography by choosing as a judicial nominee again a white man, but this time, of Hispanic origin.
Fernando Rodríguez Jr. is an American lawyer who has worked as a director of field offices in the Dominican Republic for the International Justice Mission, as part of his long career in the fight against human trafficking.
Born in Harlingen (Southern District of Texas) in 1969, Rodriguez graduated from Yale University in 1991 and later, in 1997, from the University of Texas, to become a partner of Baker Botts.
His work in the law has been combined with the social work of religious entities in Latin America and is considered by his colleagues as a man "with great pedigree" and "an intelligent lawyer", as reported by NBC.
"He has the work ethic of large firms and is respected," said Benny Agosto Jr.
But the idea of a Latino serving in the Trump Administration - which has come to be known as race-biased in all its positions - is a bit contradictory and, for many, it could be a politically committed inclusion strategy.
Despite the low representation of the Hispanic community in the judicial bodies (only 60 of the 552 district court judges are Latinos), associations such as the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) or the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) have not taken any position with respect to Rodriguez’s nomination.
For Erica V. Mason of the HNBA "We are always encouraged when Latinos are given the opportunity to excel at the federal district level. Rodriguez is the first Hispanic lawyer that this Administration has put forth out of dozens of nominees, so it's a first step," she said. "We would like to see more inclusion of diverse nominees in the federal bench."
For Thomas A. Saenz of MALDEF, however, the matter it’s a bit complicated: "we have not taken a position on Rodriguez, in part, because based on what we see, he is conservative but not so far out of the judicial mainstream," he explained. "Still, Trump nominees need to be vetted very, very carefully - which is more of a reflection of who is doing the nominating, than it is on the nominee.”
However, the analysis of Rodriguez’s profile by Vetting Room is quite encouraging: "Rodriguez does not have a history of overly partisan advocacy or controversial writings. Nor does he have a dearth of experience, having been an attorney for twenty years. As such, all signs point to a comfortable nomination for Rodriguez."