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Pickering Battle Places Congress on Verge of 'Institutional Crisis'
CNSNews.com ^ | March 07, 2002 | Jeff Johnson

Posted on 03/07/2002 1:52:18 PM PST by Stand Watch Listen

Capitol Hill (CNSNews.com) - Republicans and even some Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday acknowledged that extremely bitter battles surrounding the confirmation of President Bush's judicial nominees are endangering the entire nomination process.

"We're on the verge of an institutional crisis here, and both sides are responsible for it," said Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). "I fear we are edging toward a place where no one can be confirmed, that we'll all just continue to get more dug in and more partisan and the wheels will grind to a halt."

McConnell made his comments during a committee meeting that was to include a vote on the nomination of Judge Charles Pickering to the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The vote was postponed for the second time.

"The last thing on earth I want for this committee and for this Senate and for any future Senate is to have this totally devolve into a tit-for-tat situation where all we do is smear people who we don't like or who differ with us in their opinions," said Utah Republican Orin Hatch, the ranking minority member of the committee. "I'm sick of it and I'd like to end it."

Hatch charges that the "lynching" of Pickering's nomination "is the product of engineering by extreme left Washington special interest groups who are out of touch with the mainstream and have a political axe to grind."

One of those liberal special interest groups distributed a statement at the hearing.

"If the nomination of Judge Pickering is an indication of what we can expect with future Bush administration judicial nominees, then all his candidates should come with a warning label, 'Beware ... May be Hazardous to Women's Health and Civil Right,'" said a statement from Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider. "No judicial nominee should be considered unless they affirm a woman's civil and human right to make her own childbearing choices."

But Delaware Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden warned his fellow Democrats to carefully consider their reasons for opposing Pickering at next week's vote.

"I know some from the outside have argued that, because Judge Pickering has personal views relative to abortion different from mine, we should vote against him. I'd be careful what we wish for," Biden cautioned. "Because if it is based ... not upon his judicial rulings but personal beliefs relative to a social issue, when we have a Republican Senate again, it'll be a cold day in hell before we have anybody on the bench who is 'pro-choice.'"

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) concurs that Pickering's nomination has, in large measure, deteriorated into a battle over abortion.

"I'm concerned also, that what we have here with Judge Pickering is a warm-up for a later confirmation battle on the Supreme Court. And there's been a suggestion by some on this committee about a litmus test on Roe versus Wade," Specter said. "My 'pro-choice' views are well known, but I have supported nominees who have held different than my own personal views."

Sen. Jon Kyle (R-Ariz.) urged his colleagues to overcome the temptation to judge Pickering on his personal beliefs rather than his judicial qualifications.

"All of us in politics have infinite capacity to rationalize. I believe that all of us look for reasons to oppose someone whose views are politically different from ours, to one degree or another," Kyl admitted. "And, to the degree that we do that, it's not a good thing."

Specter agreed.

"Maybe it's too late for Judge Pickering," he said. "But it's my hope that, without the context of a specific nominee, that we'll declare a truce, an armistice and we'll try to arrive at some protocol."

He reminded his colleagues that their role in the nomination process at the committee level is limited.

"As we all know, the Constitution provides for confirmation by the Senate, not by the Judiciary Committee," Specter said.

New York Democrat Charles Schumer challenged Specter.

"That is a rationale to abolish all committees," Schumer charged. "I fail to see why the committee structure is any more flawed in the selection of judges than it is in any other. I don't think it's flawed."

Biden, however, concurred with Specter's assessment.

"The Constitution does not say the Senate Judiciary Committee shall advise and consent, it says the Senate shall give its advice and consent," he agreed.

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) also took issue with the view that the committee process is somehow "broken."

"I would disagree with my colleagues on the committee who suggest that the problem we face today is a failure of the process," Durbin claimed. "The process was very fair to Judge Pickering."

Durbin believes the White House is "testing" the committee to see whether Democrats will approve of a nominee he, Durbin, views as too conservative.

"President Clinton knew that if he sent a nominee to this committee that was not at least moderate to right he didn't have a chance," Durbin charged. "That nominee would never get a hearing. That nominee would never be seriously considered. That nominee was going to have rough sledding at best."

Hatch immediately contradicted Durbin.

"If you think only moderate to conservatives got through, you didn't watch the committee and you didn't watch the Clinton judges," Hatch responded.

Specter suggested that Pickering's nomination be moved to the full Senate for debate and a vote, even if the committee gives him an "unfavorable" recommendation. Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) said such a move would be "unprecedented."

"That's not accurate. There is, in fact, precedent for moving appellate and even district court nominees to the floor for a vote even when they have not received favorable support from this committee," Hatch explained. "Based on our research since 1950, this committee has moved at least six lower court nominees to the floor for consideration either without a recommendation or with a negative recommendation after the committee has voted them down."

The Supreme Court nominations of conservative Judges Clarence Thomas and Robert Bork were also both referred to the Senate after receiving unfavorable votes in the Democratic-controlled Judiciary Committee. Thomas was eventually confirmed as a Supreme Court justice. Bork was rejected.

The committee agreed to hold Pickering's nomination over until March 14.

"We're really at a pretty critical moment here," Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) observed. "We could wisely use this week to think about, is there another way out of this mess, this train wreck we're headed into, before we get so far down the track that recovery from it becomes pretty tough."


TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS:
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1 posted on 03/07/2002 1:52:18 PM PST by Stand Watch Listen
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Now's their chance to put a stop to the witch hunts. Pickering must be confirmed. For God's sake, he was already confirmed! These bickering partisan senatorial democraps need to get on with the nation's business and stop letting special interest groups run the country. For victory & freedom!!!
2 posted on 03/07/2002 1:56:12 PM PST by Saundra Duffy
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Is Biden changing his tune?...will he vote to report out?
3 posted on 03/07/2002 2:01:41 PM PST by ken5050
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To: Stand Watch Listen;Miss Marple;Howlin
Biden really said this:

Biden, however, concurred with Specter's assessment.

"The Constitution does not say the Senate Judiciary Committee shall advise and consent, it says the Senate shall give its advice and consent," he agreed.

4 posted on 03/07/2002 2:01:43 PM PST by Dog
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To: Stand Watch Listen
It is not fun posting on every thread and annoying all of you. We are volunteers and do so because we love Free Republic and want to see it continue for a long time.

Ask yourself these questions:

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Free Republic is not free. It costs Jim Robinson tens of thousands of dollars to keep this forum running. There are almost 80,000 registered users on Free Republic and approximately 1,000 Freepers help keep this forum running. Those who do not have the ability to donate money could help by bumping the threads once in a while. I've been in a position where the funds were low and every penny was needed to pay for frivolous things such as food. Those who do have the means should be ashamed of yourselves. You are a FReeploader. Go ahead, flame me. I don't care. I contribute to Free Republic, and I for one do not want to see this forum dead.

If everyone who registered donated one measly dollar a month, we would never have to have a fundraiser again. Thus ending the silly graphics and posts. But, it's not happening, so we will continue this annoying process until we reach our goal.

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5 posted on 03/07/2002 2:02:17 PM PST by WIMom
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To: ken5050
Ken ..... I will bet you the DEMS have an internal poll saying that this fight over Pickering is not going well for them...

Now we see stories like these popping up..

6 posted on 03/07/2002 2:04:13 PM PST by Dog
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To: Saundra Duffy
In Rush's parody, sung by Kennedy, "Lets bork again like we did that year. Let's bork again, like we did Robert. Lets bork again, its borking time." The dems have their borking agenda set, and if the elephants don't start stompin, its all over for Pickering and any future Bush nominees.
7 posted on 03/07/2002 2:04:22 PM PST by raisincane
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To: ken5050
Is Biden changing his tune?...will he vote to report out?

No, in rare moments Biden will show some values.

8 posted on 03/07/2002 2:07:53 PM PST by Hacksaw
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To: Hacksaw
Would you care to explain your statement?
9 posted on 03/07/2002 2:09:41 PM PST by ken5050
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To: Stand Watch Listen;Saundra Duffy
Dasshole if the primary roadblocker in Pickerings' case, leading the partisan attack.

Given his foot-in-mouth problems, this will probably backfire on him big-time.......FRegards

10 posted on 03/07/2002 2:14:37 PM PST by gonzo
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To: ken5050
Would you care to explain your statement?

Sure. When Dash-hole wanted to tire Strom Thurmond into a heart attack, Biden was one of the few ones who publicly suggesting sending a Dem home to balance out Strom leaving.

Don't get me wrong, I am no Biden fan at all, especially after the lies he told about Bork.

11 posted on 03/07/2002 2:14:56 PM PST by Hacksaw
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To: ken5050
Ditto!
12 posted on 03/07/2002 2:15:49 PM PST by StayoutdaBushesWay
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To: ken5050
Maybe Joe wants to look "statesmanlike" if he's planning on a run for President.
13 posted on 03/07/2002 2:22:07 PM PST by counterrevolutionary
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Specter suggested that Pickering's nomination be moved to the full Senate for debate and a vote, even if the committee gives him an "unfavorable" recommendation. Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) said such a move would be "unprecedented."
"That's not accurate. There is, in fact, precedent for moving appellate and even district court nominees to the floor for a vote even when they have not received favorable support from this committee," Hatch explained. "Based on our research since 1950, this committee has moved at least six lower court nominees to the floor for consideration either without a recommendation or with a negative recommendation after the committee has voted them down."

So little Tommy got caught in ANOTHER lie! I hope the Repub. Senators DO push to have Judge Pickering's nomination go before the FULL Senate. If they give up on him, then Planned Barrenhood and People for the UnAmerican Way will have won and will only come back even HARDER on the next candidate.

14 posted on 03/07/2002 2:22:53 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: Hacksaw
OK, but then your statement should have begun with a "yes"..Biden's words, in this case, mean nothing, unless he's sending a signal that he's gonna vote to pass the nomination to the senate floor..of all the dems on the committee..he's the most likely
15 posted on 03/07/2002 2:24:20 PM PST by ken5050
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To: counterrevolutionary
He has negative numbers in a dem preference poll...
16 posted on 03/07/2002 2:25:09 PM PST by ken5050
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To: SuziQ
So little Tommy got caught in ANOTHER lie!

Yes, Rush smoked Dash-hole on this. I am seriously considering signing up for Rush 24-7. Does anyone have any reccomendations?

17 posted on 03/07/2002 2:26:29 PM PST by Hacksaw
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To: ken5050
Fox News has reported that Biden will vote against Pickering...
18 posted on 03/07/2002 2:27:17 PM PST by rohry
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To: Hacksaw
Can we quote him on that?
19 posted on 03/07/2002 2:28:22 PM PST by RecallJeffords
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To: SuziQ
True...either one Dem senator votes to send it to the floor, or, they might all scurry for cover and all of them vote to send it....in a display of "bipartisanship"...if, as suggested, their polls show this isn't playing well for them, they might bail........stragetically, it'd make more sense for the Dems to let Pickering through, then they can unload on the first Supreme Court nomineee..they can say "see..we're not partisan"..Of course, in about nine months, the dems are gonna be the MINORITY in the Senate..
20 posted on 03/07/2002 2:28:55 PM PST by ken5050
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To: Dog
We need to keep up the pressure on this committee. What I find so criminal is that the special interest groups are the ones controling the Dems. on this committee. They are ones calling the shots and using these stupid Dem. senators. Keep those emails and calls going all week. Use this
21 posted on 03/07/2002 2:29:39 PM PST by Elkiejg
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To: RecallJeffords
Can we quote him on that?

I doubt it.

22 posted on 03/07/2002 2:30:31 PM PST by Hacksaw
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To: rohry
FOX NEWS said he would vote against Pickering but I don't recall if they reported whether he would support a floor vote or not. Remember, Biden is on record saying that every nominee deserves a floor vote, regardless of the committee's vote.

Looks like the GOP is stepping things up. Interesting to note that Lott does not appear to be among them.

23 posted on 03/07/2002 2:33:00 PM PST by Wphile
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To: StayoutdaBushesWay; Miss Marple
It is an absolute certainty that the committee will vote the judge down 10-9. That will probably be the end of the fight, but it is possible Bush will gain a political advantage from all this and the Dems look like political hacks (which they are).

I see one scenario where the judge may get a floor vote, and it is not necessarily a good one. If Daschle can cut a back room deal with 2 RINOs, he can say, "Ok, we will make a big concession in the name of bi-partisanship--unprecedented--we are so generous and fair."

Then the vote: Pickering gets 2 Dem votes (McClennan of Ga and Hollings of SC), but 2 RINOs defect (You name the prospects) and Pickering looses 51-49. Daschle says--"See, all this over nothing. Now it's the Republicans turn to be Bi-Partisan!"

I could be wrong, but it seems to me that the pro-choice crowd might get their 2 RINOs

24 posted on 03/07/2002 2:35:25 PM PST by San Jacinto
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To: Hacksaw
Biden and the liberals on Judiciary are more concerned with the fact that they may be facing a Republican majority after the November elections. Not a certainty, but a real possibility. If that happens, after the way Daschle and the Judiciary Committee has obstructed every piece of legislation and nominee possible, there is a chance the Republicans will use their majority to ram nominees and bills right down their whiny throats. Biden is a hypocrite--he told another nominee for a federal judgeship last week that unless he promised to vote in favor of abortion Biden would filibuster his nomination, and then Biden left the room before the nominee could answer.

The part that scares them is that teh liberals know that they do not have political support for every crackpot social engineering scheme they want enacted, but the federal bench has been quite reliable in enacting it for them and preventing the people from having any say. They lose the judiciary and the liberals would be required to persuade the people of their positions, a feat they have never accomplished.

25 posted on 03/07/2002 2:38:26 PM PST by RecallJeffords
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To: Elkiejg
We need to keep up the pressure on this committee. What I find so criminal is that the special interest groups are the ones controling the Dems. on this committee. They are ones calling the shots and using these stupid Dem. senators. Keep those emails and calls going all week. Use this

The kingpin is not the plagiarist Biden. It is not the murderer of Massachussets. It is not the dot com failure (who has no business being on a judiciary committee)from Washington, elected with the help of the LP. It is not the ambulance chaser (another person who has no business approving judges) from SC. It is not the California pro-abort (who didn't learn the rule that no gun is unloaded from the pics I saw).

It is the Leakster. National Review did an in-depth expose on The Leakster - and interviewed staffers, politicians, etc. It was posted here a while back. From the article, the partisanship of The Leakster makes Dash-hole and his trainer Mitchell look like rank amateurs.

26 posted on 03/07/2002 2:39:48 PM PST by Hacksaw
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To: RecallJeffords
Biden is a hypocrite--he told another nominee for a federal judgeship last week that unless he promised to vote in favor of abortion Biden would filibuster his nomination, and then Biden left the room before the nominee could answer.

I thought he was upset that Judge Smith had the gall to criticize Bidens's violence against women act - an act which virtually mimiced state laws already in place (and which was overturned by the US SC, backing up Smith). From what I read, Biden was a bit upset that a judge would dare think that federal supremacy over The States was not a given fact.

27 posted on 03/07/2002 2:46:13 PM PST by Hacksaw
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To: Stand Watch Listen
It was the scumbag Democrats who invented "Borking" and it's the scumbag Democrats who continue to work relentlessly to fine tune the art of the smear and the lie. My opinion is, screw 'em all. Let the Democrats bury everybody and let the vacancy crisis deepen. (You remember the "vacancy crisis", right? The liberal news media used to tell us about it all the time during the Scumbag Administration.) Let nobody get confirmed until there is a 60 vote majority of decent humans in the Senate. Recall that the Republicans actually came pretty close a few years ago and it is something which is entirely within reason to hope for.

Meantime, let the scumbag Democrats play their game, the game they invented. I will be extremely disappointed if the Republicans capitulate to the scumbags in any way, shape, manner, or form.

28 posted on 03/07/2002 2:46:21 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: Hacksaw
If I recall correctly, Biden is brain-damaged, isn't he?
29 posted on 03/07/2002 2:48:41 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Specter suggested that Pickering's nomination be moved to the full Senate for debate and a vote, even if the committee gives him an "unfavorable" recommendation. Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) said such a move would be "unprecedented." "That's not accurate. There is, in fact, precedent for moving appellate and even district court nominees to the floor for a vote even when they have not received favorable support from this committee," Hatch explained. "Based on our research since 1950, this committee has moved at least six lower court nominees to the floor for consideration either without a recommendation or with a negative recommendation after the committee has voted them down."

Isn't there a day that goes by without the idiot Daschle sticking his foot in his mouth?

30 posted on 03/07/2002 2:52:57 PM PST by #3Fan
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To: Lancey Howard
Biden had brain surgery done several years ago, my mom swears up and down he used to be a decent guy before the surgery (I think it was for a brain tumor.)
31 posted on 03/07/2002 2:57:50 PM PST by Utah Girl
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To: #3Fan
Isn't there a day that goes by without the idiot Daschle sticking his foot in his mouth?

No, and I love it. He is getting the "Newt" treatment (granted though he would never get treated as badly as Newt did).

32 posted on 03/07/2002 3:02:47 PM PST by Hacksaw
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To: Hacksaw
It is not the ambulance chaser (another person who has no business approving judges) from SC.

SC has some jerks in Congress but the ambulance chaser is from NC...

33 posted on 03/07/2002 3:29:07 PM PST by rohry
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To: Hacksaw
No, and I love it. He is getting the "Newt" treatment (granted though he would never get treated as badly as Newt did).

I was just thinking of that two days ago. Remember when Newt complained of not being wholly informed by the Clinton Administration and the media lambasted him as a crybaby? Gee, I wonder why Daschle isn't getting the same treatment for doing the same thing (worse, actually, because Daschle lied)?

34 posted on 03/07/2002 3:39:47 PM PST by #3Fan
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To: Utah Girl
No, No, Biden had hair surgery, Specter had had brain surgery..
35 posted on 03/07/2002 4:02:03 PM PST by ThomasPaine2000
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To: ThomasPaine2000
OK. I wasn't politically active when all that happened, although Biden's hair is awfully strange looking, especially when looking from above his head.
36 posted on 03/07/2002 4:04:08 PM PST by Utah Girl
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To: Stand Watch Listen
There is no doubt in my mind that the Dems are protecting Roe vs. Wade. They are scared sh!tless or this nonsense would cease. The liberals dominate both Judiciary committees to make sure this will never happen!!!!!
37 posted on 03/07/2002 4:09:35 PM PST by Alissa
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To: Saundra Duffy
The problem with these commitees having so much power is that sometimes the individual members will not answer to anyone that isn't considered a constituent. So, if I try to contact these guys, they may not even answer me because I'm not in one of their districts. That's why they need to refer his nomination to the full senate, because they are infringing upon the rights of the American people to be represented fairly by the people they elected.
38 posted on 03/07/2002 4:20:16 PM PST by Tuscaloosa Goldfinch
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To: Saundra Duffy
the senators, for the most part, are crooked creeps..... dump them all
39 posted on 03/07/2002 4:28:53 PM PST by pointsal
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To: Hacksaw
Hatch worked the Leakster over pretty good today in full view of the cameras and would not cover his mic.
40 posted on 03/07/2002 4:31:11 PM PST by linn37
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To: linn37
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41 posted on 03/07/2002 4:44:25 PM PST by grammymoon
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To: ThomasPaine2000
a mere technicality, they paid about the same for their surgeries
42 posted on 03/07/2002 7:39:20 PM PST by NormsRevenge
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To: linn37
Leahy looked like a little kid

Hatch was P O'd
43 posted on 03/07/2002 7:40:33 PM PST by NormsRevenge
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To: Utah Girl
although Biden's hair is awfully strange looking, especially when looking from above his head.

Does it look like 'Doll's Hair'? Sorry that's a location joke (you had to be there) If you get a chance, rent the movie "Return to Me". A guy in the movie(he is one of the screenwriters) has had a hair transplant, and that's the way he describes his new hair.

44 posted on 03/07/2002 8:34:36 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: SuziQ
That's exactly what Biden's hair looks like. He's had those hair plugs. At the first White House dinner that President Bush gave, Biden was invited. And the cameras were overhead, and we saw the horrible hairplugs and weaves that Biden had done to cover his baldness. I think bald men are sexy, they look awful when they try to hide their baldness.
45 posted on 03/07/2002 8:38:48 PM PST by Utah Girl
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To: linn37; Hacksaw
Orrin Hatch and Patrick Leahy fight like an old married couple.
46 posted on 03/07/2002 8:40:26 PM PST by Utah Girl
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To: Elkiejg
Just sent to all the Judicial Commitee members.

"Judge Pickering should get Senate approval.

He has been overwhelmingly approved previously by the Senate. He has been approved by the American Bar Association and I believe he is approved of by the majority of the Senate and American electorate.

The Judicial Committee members and Senate members should not judge the judge by whether he agrees with them but by his legal and experience qualifications. Approve Judge Pickering now because he deserves approval. Remove your bias or voters will begin removing you."

Merce Thornberry

"God who gave us life, gave us liberty . Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just and his justice can not sleep forever." -- Thomas Jefferson

47 posted on 03/08/2002 4:34:14 AM PST by tberry
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