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Democrats Blast Bush Judicial Nominee ^ | February 08, 2002 | Susan Jones

Posted on 02/08/2002 6:06:08 AM PST by Stand Watch Listen

( - Republicans accuse Democrats of demonizing another one of President Bush's judicial appointees - U.S. District Judge Charles Pickering, who's been asked by President Bush to serve on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

In an unusual move, the Senate Judiciary Committee asked Pickering to appear for a second confirmation hearing on Thursday. His first hearing took place in October.

At Thursday's hearing, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee accused Pickering of ethical lapses and questioned his record on civil rights and abortion.

Liberal interest groups strenuously oppose the nomination of Pickering because of his conservative positions, and one Republican Senator accused his fellow Democrats of serving as the mud-flinging tools of those liberal groups.

Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Thursday, "I am troubled by what appears to be a national agenda by a coalition of left-wing interest groups who have spent months hunting around for an excuse to use the Pickering nomination as a way to attempt to paint the administration's nominees as extremist."

Press reports note that representatives of those liberal interest groups - including People for the American Way, the Alliance for Justice, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People - were present at Thursday's hearing.

As Sen. Hatch indicated, the issue is larger than Pickering. Analysts say that by demonizing all of President Bush's judicial nominees as "conservative extremists," liberal groups are sharpening their claws for the real battle - the future direction of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Although there are no vacancies on the court, that could change at any time, giving President Bush the opportunity to appoint another conservative to the bench. In the meantime, Republicans accuse Democrats of foot-dragging in getting Bush's judicial nominees confirmed.

So far, the Democrat-led Senate has approved only one-third of President Bush's judicial nominees.

On Thursday, Pickering told the Judiciary Committee he was there to set the record straight: "I have a record of standing up for equal protection, respecting the rule of law and making efforts to promote racial harmony for more than four decades."

His supporters say Pickering's record speaks for itself, but they worry that liberal efforts to distort the facts will sully his "exemplary" record.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, did not say when his panel might vote on sending Pickering's nomination to the full Senate. However, he did give committee members another week to submit additional questions to Pickering - this time in writing.

See Commentary:
The Left Targets Pickering - Again (5 Feb. 2002)

See Earlier Stories:
Former Prosecutor Calls on Conferees to Lobby Senate Judicial Nominees (1 Feb. 2002)
Blasting Conservative Judges: Liberals Launch Their Campaign (24 Jan. 2002)

TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events

1 posted on 02/08/2002 6:06:09 AM PST by Stand Watch Listen
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2 posted on 02/08/2002 6:07:06 AM PST by Stand Watch Listen
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