Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Southwick Update

Sid Salter at Mississippi's Clarion Ledger blogs, "Don't take my word for the partisan character assassination aimed at Mississippi Judge Leslie Southwick. Read what a national group has to say on the subject" and posts a press release from the Campaign for Justice with the headline: "Southern White Male Nominees Face Bias in Senate - Dems’ campaign against Judge Southwick repeats same old charges".

Meanwhile, the Legal Times Blog writes: Conservatives Counterattack For Southwick

Monday, June 18, 2007

Summer Reading

The Committee for Justice blogs that some liberals may be "engrossed in Al Gore's new book" but "those of you who are more interested in constitutional law and the judicial nominations" should check out three books: A Price Too High by Charles Pickering; Confirmation Wars by Benjamin Wittes; and The Manhandling of the Constitution by Jim Dueholm.

FotF on Southwick

Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for Focus on the Family, writes about the Southwick situation. Here is an excerpt:

These charges are even more profoundly false and transparent than usual, because they are based on a couple opinions that Southwick didn't even write. And both decisions were correct as a matter of law and appellate practice, but that didn’t' matter to the attack dogs who are seeking to derail the third straight Mississippi nominee for this 5th Circuit seat.

That's right – both Charles Pickering and Michael Wallace were previously nominated by this president for this same seat, then tarred and feathered by the Left with similarly ridiculous treatment as Southwick is receiving now. Apparently liberals look upon white male nominees from Mississippi as whack-a-moles – when one pops up, bam!

Read the full story here.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Southwick delayed

The Clarion Ledger reports Southwick was delayed again, in hopes that the Demcrats will agree to vote him out of committee with at least a neutral recommendation or even a negative recommendation: either of which still gives the full Senate the opportunity to vote.

The CQ Today report says in part:

Last week, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., suggested that Bush withdraw Southwick’s nomination and instead nominate an African-American candidate and name Southwick to a district court seat....The senator said White House counsel Fred F. Fielding told him June 13 that Bush will not follow Leahy’s advice.

According to both Leahy and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the ranking Republican on the panel, a majority of the committee is against Southwick’s nomination for the 5th Circuit....Specter also has suggested that the panel send the nomination to the floor, even with an unfavorable recommendation, rather than reject it outright. Leahy said that won’t happen.

Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chairwoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich., and another CBC member, Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, appeared in the committee room to buttonhole Democrats before the meeting Thursday. They sat in the audience until Leahy postponed the planned vote.

....Bush has been trying to fill the same 5th Circuit seat since 2001, when he nominated Charles W. Pickering Sr. The next year, a Democratic-controlled Judiciary Committee rejected Pickering’s nomination.

Democrats filibustered Pickering in the 108th Congress. In early 2004, Bush gave Pickering a recess appointment, which lasted until the end of that Congress.

In the 109th Congress, Bush tapped Michael Wallace for the seat. The American Bar Association rated Wallace “not qualified” for the position, and the Senate did not vote on his nomination.

After Bush nominated Southwick to a Mississippi district court seat, he became part of a package of district court picks readied for floor action near the end of the 109th Congress. But the Senate did not vote on the package after Sam Brownback, R-Kan., blocked another nominee in the group, Janet T. Neff, whom Bush had nominated to a Michigan district court. Bush renominated Neff this year, and the Judiciary Committee approved her nomination last month.

Thad Cochran, R-Miss., strongly supports Southwick. “He’s one of the finest lawyers in the state of Mississippi, and it’s pure partisan politics at its worst,” Cochran said.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Southwick vote today

After a couple of delays, Southwick's nomination to the Fifth Circuit comes up for a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee today. Mississippi's largest newspaper, the Clarion Ledger, is for him in this editorial.

UPDATE: Southwick vote postponed again. LegalTimesBlog says: Conceding that he didn’t have the votes to pass Southwick out of the committee, Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-Penn.) asked for Southwick to be held over again until next week. Of the move to wait another week Specter said, “I would like another week, perhaps to waste my time” to find enough votes to pass Southwick to the full Senate floor.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Pickering and Southwick

Great post and analysis at on the truth against PFAW and the other liberals' attacks on judges like Pickering and Southwick.

Monday, June 11, 2007

City Journal

Harry Stein writes a great piece in City Journal about "A Price Too High" and Judge Pickering's confirmation fight: "Charles Pickering Gets the Last Word: A maligned civil rights hero, the changing South, and the future of the courts"

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Judicial Speech Code

The Wall Street Journal responds to the Southwick attacks, here are some excerpts:

Move over, Roe v. Wade. The latest liberal judicial litmus test is whether the nominee is willing to repudiate the phrase "homosexual lifestyle." Believe it or not, that's one of the two raps against Leslie Southwick, whose nomination for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals comes before the Senate Judiciary Committee today.

After more than five months of Democratic control, Ralph Neas, Nan Aron and other liberal activists are so desperate to prove their relevance that they will grasp at any allegation to put another trophy kill over their mantel. What happens to Judge Southwick's nomination may well preview the fate of other appeals-court nominees in the rest of President Bush's term.

....liberal critics, having scoured his 7,000-plus rulings on the Mississippi appeals bench, uncovered two allegedly hanging offenses. Both were about words that the judge himself never uttered but were contained in decisions he joined--one involving homosexuals, the other race....

The flimsy pretext for stopping Judge Southwick suggests that the judicial left has decided to browbeat Democrats into blocking nearly all Bush appellate nominees. They're hoping to retake the White House in 2008 and want everyone to forget that the current President still has 19 months in office. Only three Bush appointees have been approved this year, and there are currently five nominees for 13 vacancies. At this pace, the confirmation rate won't come close to the 15 appeals-court nominees approved by a GOP Senate during Bill Clinton's last two years.

Judiciary Democrats aren't saying how they'll vote today, but Republicans believe they have the votes to confirm if Judge Southwick's nomination gets to the Senate floor. If the judge loses--or if he's approved in committee and then denied an up-or-down vote on the floor--you'll know Ralph Neas is running the confirmation asylum.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Long Knives out for Southwick

The left-wing special interest groups have turned up their attacks on Southwick. Excerpts from the piece in today's Clarion Ledger:

"We are looking to the committee to do the right thing," said Nan Aron, president of Alliance for Justice, one of the groups opposed to Southwick's nomination. She also said the committee's acceptance of what she called the first controversial nomination of the new Congress "would set a very dark precedent."

Only one senator has disclosed his opposition to Southwick. On Thursday, Ben LaBolt, press secretary to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said the senator - a White House candidate - would oppose the nomination if approved by the Judiciary Committee and sent to the Senate floor.

"Senator Obama shares the concerns of his fellow members of the Congressional Black Caucus that Judge Southwick would not adequately defend the rights of workers and enforce civil rights laws, and he opposes his lifetime appointment to the federal appeals court," LaBolt said. "Given the rocky history of appointments to this important seat on the court, Senator Obama believes the president should nominate a consensus candidate who will fairly interpret and uphold the laws of the nation."

Southwick's candidacy is opposed by some of the same groups who helped foster opposition to previous nominees for the seat - retired Judge Charles Pickering and Jackson lawyer Michael Wallace.

Left wing groups in Texas also hit him at press conference.

And from the left's press, The Nation opines: Southwick offers a truly lamentable record of rulings on civil and equal rights and a history that staunchly favors special interests over individual rights and liberties...Southwick has gone out of his way to express troubling views on workers' rights, has joined strikingly homophobic decisions and has voted consistently against consumers and workers in divided torts and employment decisions...The Congressional Black Caucus, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, People for the American Way, Human Rights Campaign, National Employment Lawyers Association, National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce, Mississippi NAACP and the Magnolia Bar are all calling for his defeat...This is a fight that can be won.