REMEMBER MANUEL MIRANDA?…. A group of prominent conservative activists has assembled to lean on Senate Republicans to filibuster the Sonia Sotomayor nomination. The hypocrisy from the activists is interesting, but I was also struck by the effort’s ringleader.

Several years ago, when Senate Democrats were using filibusters to block confirmation votes on several of President George W. Bush’s appeals court nominees, some conservatives decried the tactic as unconstitutional.

But now, a coalition of conservative group leaders and opinion leaders has signed a letter calling on Senate Republicans to filibuster President Obama’s Supreme Court choice, Judge Sonia Sotomayor. […]

The letter was organized by the Manuel Miranda, a former adviser on judicial issues to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Republican of Tennessee. Mr. Miranda now runs the Third Branch Conference, a coalition of conservatives focused on judges.

Five years ago, Mr. Miranda was an outspoken critic of Democratic filibusters of judicial nominees, which he called “unprecedented, unconstitutional.”

That’s true, but it’s not all Miranda was up to five years ago.

In 2004, Manuel Miranda was at the center of a fairly significant scandal, in which Republican staffers on the Hill accessed Democratic computer servers and stole over 4,000 memos and documents related to judicial nominees. Miranda was directly responsible for the thefts, and left with no options, GOP senators forced Miranda to resign in disgrace. Soon after, Miranda was the subject of a criminal investigation, though no charges were filed.

Asked to explain his actions, Miranda once famously said, “You have no ethical duty to your opposition.”

A few years later, the Bush administration hired Miranda to serve as “director of the Office of Legislative Statecraft at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq,” where he was responsible for “giving instruction on democratic principles to Iraqi lawyers and lawmakers.” (I wish I were kidding.)

And now, Miranda is organizing opposition to Democratic judicial nominees, demanding the same procedural tactic he once denounced as “unconstitutional.” Conservative leaders, instead of keeping Miranda and his past at arm’s length, have made him their ringleader.


Update: Greg, who got here first, has more.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.