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.

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