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Pickering Fight Shows Liberals At Their Worst ^ | February 21, 2002 | Mort Kondracke

Posted on 02/28/2002 7:05:25 AM PST by Constitution Day

Feburary 21, 2002

Pickering Fight Shows Liberals At Their Worst
by Morton Kondracke

It's time for liberal groups such as People for the American Way and the NAACP to quit using character assassination to defeat conservative judicial nominees - and for Democratic Senators to show some independence from them.

Republicans have used defamation against liberal nominees too, as in the branding of Missouri Supreme Court Judge Ronnie White as "soft on crime" in 1999. But the usual pattern when the GOP controlled the Senate was to simply deny Democratic nominees a hearing and a confirmation vote.

Democrats are learning to do that as well, but they're more adept at character attacks - the most egregious examples being the campaigns against Supreme Court nominees Clement Haynsworth in 1969, Robert Bork in 1987 and Clarence Thomas in 1991.

Now the liberal groups are systematically vilifying 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Charles Pickering as "hostile to civil rights" - read: racist - and as yet no Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee has raised a peep of objection. Pickering's chances in Judiciary don't look good.

In fact, the evidence suggests that Pickering is a decent, if outspoken, religious conservative who's repeatedly gone out of his way to help African-Americans.

Would a racist send his children to newly integrated schools in Mississippi in the 1960s when an all-white "academy" was just down the road? Pickering did.

And he kept his son, now Rep. Chip Pickering (R-Miss.), and three daughters in the Laurel, Miss., public schools even when, by the time they graduated, their high school was 70 percent African-American.

In majority-black Washington, D.C., white liberals, including some Senators, usually send their kids to private schools.

As a county attorney from 1964 to 1968, Pickering helped the FBI prosecute Ku Klux Klansmen and was defeated for re-election because of it. When he ran for the state Senate in 1971, he won with two-thirds support from black voters in his district.

This is scarcely the record of someone who represents "a throwback to the days of the segregated South," as Marcia Kuntz of the liberal Alliance for Justice called him.

As a state Senator, Pickering did vote twice to fund the notorious Mississippi Sovereignty Commission - at a time, his supporters say, when it claimed to be giving up its failed segregationist mission. Ultimately, it didn't do so and Pickering voted for its dissolution.

In 1992, Pickering urged his son, then an aide to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), to help win membership in the Sigma Chi chapter at the University of Mississippi for Damon Evans, son of the Ole Miss football coach.

At that point, no African-American had ever been admitted to a white fraternity, and Evans was facing an anonymous "blackball." Pickering flew down to Oxford, made a speech to the members of his and his father's fraternity, and got Evans accepted.

If, as liberals sometimes argue, "the personal is the political," then Pickering's record is that of an advocate of civil rights. He was able to get white-owned banks to lend money to black businesses and helped direct federal funds to after-school and medical programs for blacks.

In what ought to be a humiliating blow to the anti-Pickering assault brigade, The New York Times last Sunday reported that African-American leaders in his hometown overwhelmingly vouch for him and dismiss charges that he's racially prejudiced.

People for the American Way Director Ralph Neas was reduced to saying that those who have watched Pickering at close hand for decades know less about him than Washington activists.

I'd trust Mississippi civil rights leader Charles Evers, who backs Pickering, a lot sooner than the NAACP's Julian Bond and Kwesi Mfume, sponsors of one of the most scurrilous campaign ads ever run - the 2000 ad suggesting that George W. Bush's failure to sign a new hate-crimes law in Texas was equivalent to the murder of James Byrd.

Neas says he's never accused Pickering of being personally "racist," but that his record is one of "insensitivity" and "hostility" to civil rights.

Yet, close examinations by Jonathan Groner in Legal Times and Byron York in National Review pretty clearly discredit Neas' charges that Pickering has been biased in employment and voting-rights cases and was too lenient - and may have behaved unethically - in a cross-burning case.

York has demolished the basis for attacks on Pickering by Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) in the 1994 cross-burning case.

York showed that Pickering believed that the Justice Department had let off the main perpetrator of the incident and that he intervened with Justice not - as Edwards alleged - to secure leniency for the defendant but to hasten a government response to his inquiries. He sentenced the defendant, Daniel Swan, to 27 months in prison.

I can't say that Pickering is qualified to serve on the 5th Circuit. The Washington Post, while scolding liberals for their tactics, asserts that Pickering has been a district judge "of no particular distinction."

On the other hand, since Democrats have elevated American Bar Association ratings to iconic status, it's worth noting that a majority of its rating committee found Pickering "well qualified" and the remainder, "qualified."

Still, Pickering is in trouble. Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle (D-S.D.) is against him and Democrats have a 10-8 margin over Republicans on Judiciary, enough to deny him a floor vote. Moreover, the White House isn't fighting very hard for his nomination. Too bad - the guy deserves better.

TOPICS: Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: edwardswatch
Thanks to elkiejg for sending me this article!
My apologies if it has already been posted.


1 posted on 02/28/2002 7:05:25 AM PST by Constitution Day
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To: *Edwards Watch; KayEyeDoubleDee; mykdsmom; callisto; 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten; JWinNC
Edwards Watch ping!
2 posted on 02/28/2002 7:06:39 AM PST by Constitution Day
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To: elkiejg
I'm still working on posting the other one...
3 posted on 02/28/2002 7:07:31 AM PST by Constitution Day
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To: elkiejg
Never mind, just saw that you had already posted "The New Dixiecrats".


4 posted on 02/28/2002 7:09:36 AM PST by Constitution Day
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To: Constitution Day
Related Articles:
Still Pestering Pickering
Source:; Published: February 19, 2002;
Author: John Nowacki

Dismantling Democracy through Judicial Activism
Source:; Published: February 12, 2002;
Author:Tom Jipping

'A Troubling Pattern': Ideology Over Truth In Judicial Confirmations
Source: Too Good Reports; Published: February 10, 2002;
Author: Paul E. Scates

Democrats Blast Bush Judicial Nominee
Source:; Published: February 08, 2002;
Susan Jones

The Next Big Fight: The first major judicial-confirmation battle of the Bush administration.
Source: National Review: Published: Feburary 6, 2002;
Author:Byron York

SYMPOSIUM Q: Should the Senate Take Ideology into Account in Judicial Confirmations
Source: INSIGHT magazine; Published: February 4, 2002;
Ralph G. Neas -- YES: The ideology of nominees for the federal judiciary matters more now than ever
Roger Pilon -- NO: Since judges apply law, not make it, the Senate's concern should be with judicial temperament

What is the Judiciary Committee Trying to Hide?
Source:; Published: January 29, 2002;
Author: Thomas L. Jipping

Blasting Conservative Judges: Liberals Launch Their Campaign
Source:; Published: January 24 2002;
Matt Pyeatt

Judicial Confirmation Lies, Deception and Cover-up
Source:; Published: December 11, 2001
Author: Thomas L. Jipping

Senator Leahy Does Not Meet His Own Standards; Published: December 07, 2001
Author: By John Nowacki

Senator Daschle Must Remove 'Leaky Leahy' From Judiciary Committee
Source: Too Good Reports; Published: December 4, 2001
Author: Rev. Louis P. Sheldon

A Disgraceful Blocking of Nominees
Source: The Wall Street Journal (ltr to ed) Published December 3, 2001

Mr. Leahy's Fuzzy Math
Source: Washington Times;Published: December 3, 2001

Sen. Patrick Leahy; Our Constitutional Conscience?
Source: Too Good Reports; Published: December 2, 2001
Author: Paul E. Scates

Judicial confirmations called significantly low
Source: Washington Times; Published: November 30, 2001
Author: Audrey Hudson

Patrick Leahy - Words Do Kill
Source:; Published: November 29, 2001
Author: William A. Mayer

Judicial Profiling
Source: The Wall Street Journal; Published: November 27, 2001

Sen. Leahy's judicial hostages
Source: Washington Times; Published: November 21, 2001

Judges Delayed is Justice Denied
Source: ; Published: November 20, 2001;
Author: Thomas L. Jipping

Partisanship is Prevalent with Leahy's Judicial Confirmations
Source:; Published: November 15, 2001
Author: John Nowacki

Leahy And Daschle Are Coming Face To Face With Their Own Words
Author: John Nowacki

Obedient Democrats
Source:; Published October 26, 2001
Author: Thomas L. Jipping

Why is Daschle Blocking Judges needed to Try Terrorists when we Catch them?
Source: Banner of Liberty; Published:October 26, 2001
Author: Mary Mostert

Pat Leahy's Passive Aggressive Game
Source:; Published: October 25, 2001
Author: John Nowacki

Operation Obstruct Justice
Source: Washington Times; Published: October 25, 2001
Author: T.L.Jipping

Daschle wins struggle over judicial nominations
Source: The Washington Times; Published: Oct 24, 2001
Author: Dave Boyer

Leahy doctrine ensures judicial gridlock
Source: Washington Times; Published October 22, 2001

Senate's judicial powergrab: Tom Jipping tracks Dems' assault on courts
Source:; Published: June 28, 2001
Author: Tom Jipping

Dems Will Shut Down Judicial Confirmations
Source: Commentary from the Free Congress Foundation; Published: June 13, 2001;
Author: Thomas L. Jipping

5 posted on 02/28/2002 7:11:42 AM PST by Stand Watch Listen
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To: Constitution Day
As long as the demon-rats hold the senate judiciary committee hostage, Bush won't see any nominees sent through...November needs to arrive and we need to clean out the senate of these liberal terrorists who are just as bad as OBL since they will destroy us from WITHIN!
6 posted on 02/28/2002 7:12:26 AM PST by princess leah
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To: Constitution Day
Pickering Fight Shows Liberals At Their Worst

Nah, this sort of action is just everyday, garden variety socialist tactics.

7 posted on 02/28/2002 7:16:55 AM PST by hauerf
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Edwards Watch:
Articles relating to NC Senator John Edwards
(esp. regarding his Senate duties and upcoming campaign for President in 2004)
To add to this list, type *Edwards Watch
in the "To:" field.
To view articles on this list, click the link above.

Free Republic Bump List Register
A listing of all Free Republic Bump Lists & their descriptions.

8 posted on 02/28/2002 7:24:25 AM PST by Constitution Day
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To: Constitution Day
It doesn't matter whether a judge is qualified or not. If he's being chosen by one party, of course the other party's going to suspect other motives and oppose the nomination. The idea is to oppose nominations as much as possible until finally when one does get nominated, they'll be someone at the bottom of the nominating party's list of preferred nominees.
9 posted on 02/28/2002 7:47:44 AM PST by ProbePhage
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To: Constitution Day
With all the positive press that pickering is getting. I'm not ready to write him off yet. Yes, I realize that it's an uphill fight, but there might be enough pressure to send the vote to the senate floor. I need to e-mail my senators and the White House on this.
10 posted on 02/28/2002 8:04:15 AM PST by Sci Fi Guy
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To: ProbePhage
That's nonsense. This country was founded on the principle that you should support a politician for his decency or morality ahead of his particular politics.

Not to mention that branding someone a racist is vile.

11 posted on 02/28/2002 8:08:15 AM PST by KayEyeDoubleDee
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To: Constitution Day
12 posted on 02/28/2002 8:26:29 AM PST by JWinNC
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Thanks for that list. BUMP!
13 posted on 02/28/2002 8:35:56 AM PST by standorfall
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To: ProbePhage
So the Democrats are entitled to brand Judge Pickering a racist? It is their duty as the loyal opposition? Flesh out your thought.
14 posted on 02/28/2002 8:37:45 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: JWinNC; StandWatchListen

Edwards raises much money from out-of-state sources

The Associated Press
February 28, 2002   10:34 am

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Last year, U.S. Sen. John Edwards raised the majority of his political campaign money from people who can't even vote for him if he seeks re-election as senator.

Of the roughly $900,000 the North Carolina Democrat raised last year for his re-election campaign, more than 65 percent came from non-North Carolinians, according to campaign finance records. In the second half of 2001, covered in a report released this month by the Federal Election Commission, Edwards raised 90 percent of his money out of state.

"I wouldn't read too much into that," Edwards said. "We're continuing to do fund raising in North Carolina, and we're raising money in other states."

Edwards has made a point of visiting all 100 counties in North Carolina, but spends a great deal of time on the road. He has visited Iowa, New Hampshire, California, New York and many other states, raising money as well as his national profile.

URL for this article:

15 posted on 02/28/2002 8:59:30 AM PST by Constitution Day
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To: 1rudeboy
Actually if the Senate borks Charles W. Pickering it would be a clear humilation for Trent "Gutless Wonder" Lott and it would give me the extreme pleasure of seeing his face rubbed in the loss by Tommy Daschund. I mean considering Pickering was Lott's own pick for the appeals court position, if he's defeated, its more a reflection on Lott's lack of spine than it is a commentary on Pickering's own character. Maybe that will finally motivate Republican Senators to dump Lott, if only for self-interested reasons of political survival, for if they keep him around, they're guaranteed to remain permanently in the minority.
16 posted on 02/28/2002 9:07:19 AM PST by goldstategop
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To: ProbePhage
A number of posters, whose FReeper names I do not recognize, seem to have registered TODAY. Interesting.
17 posted on 02/28/2002 3:17:47 PM PST by Irene Adler
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