Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Southwick, Wallace, Pickering

The Jackson Clarion Ledger writes in an editorial today, "The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee's postponing a scheduled vote last week on the nomination of Leslie Southwick to a seat on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was not unexpected, given the past politics and posturing by Senate Democrats on the nominations of Charles Pickering and Michael Wallace. But, it's still extremely frustrating....It's clear that no Republican nominee submitted from Mississippi by President Bush will be satisfactory to Senate Democrats and the special interests to whom Democrats are beholden. To be sure, Republicans have engaged in similar tactics in the past against Clinton-era judicial nominees and GOP nominees are now paying the price. But in the process of this futile exercise in politics and posturing, the characters of three good and decent Mississippians have been unjustly assaulted. Southwick, Wallace and Pickering are guilty of one charge - they are guilty of being Republicans with right-of-center views on abortion. But they've been branded by special interests as racists and worse during the confirmation process - a charge that is easy to make against a Mississippian and one that is of a nuclear political nature. In the cases of Southwick and Pickering in particular, the charge of racism is at such odds with their public and personal conduct in Mississippi as to be ridiculous....(Read the full editorial here)

"The Clinton Administration" blogs on this today as well.

1 comment:

Congressman Al Green said...

I urge the President to find a better candidate than Leslie Southwick, whose actions have shown him to be unworthy and insensitive. To allow this nomination to be confirmed would condone and legitimize his obvious disregard for issues that confront minority communities. Southwick made a decision in Richmond v. Mississippi Dept. of Human Services to uphold the reinstatement of a worker who referred to a co-worker as a “good-ole nigger” after a hearing officer found that calling the employee “a good ole nigger’ was the equivalent of calling the employee a “teacher’s pet." Southwick also has a proven pattern of approving peremptory challenges that exclude minorities from juries (striking persons from serving on a jury, usually without giving a reason). Those who serve on the bench must not only have a good judicial temperament and be well-versed in the law, they must also have a sound understanding of what constitutes invidious discrimination, as well as what constitutes a hostile work environment.

We have to assume that people may give us only one clue into their inner-most thinking. We cannot avoid the clues given to us by Southwick in his Richmond v. Mississippi Dept. of Human Services ruling and his rulings on race discrimination in jury selection. These rulings are indicative of Southwick’s willingness to condone overt bigotry and engage in covert discrimination. We cannot ignore this evidence before us-- it must be examined before it is too late and a lifetime appointment is made.

Cragg Hines of the Houston Chronicle was absolutely on target when he compared Southwick to Don Imus. Judges have a necessity to be impartial. Southwick and his Imus-like mentality must not be allowed to serve on the bench in the 5th Circuit, the federal circuit with the highest percentage of minorities. Though we may not have evidence on how he would view other minorities, the evidence we do have tells us this is not a person with an adequate understanding of minority issues. It is essential, knowing what we know now, for the President to rethink and withdraw the nomination of Leslie Southwick to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals-- Southwick is not the only person available. There are other candidates who are capable, competent, and qualified without this Imus-like mentality and they must be considered.