|VOL. 4, NO. 7||MARCH 10, 2002|
The Pickering Problem Escalates: |
Senators Warn of "Institutional Crisis"
For the second time, the Senate Judiciary Committee's vote on U. S. District Judge Charles Pickering, Sr.'s nomination to the Fifth Circuit of Appeals has been postponed. Scheduled for last Thursday, March 7th, it is now slated for Thursday, March 14th. Sen. Orrin Hatch, the Committee's ranking Republican requested the delay amidst what the GOP and even some Democrats are viewing as a looming "institutional crisis." This concern is well justified:
GOP Committee member Mitch McConnell (KY) argued that, "We're on the verge of an institutional crisis here, and both sides are responsible . . . ." The Committee's most liberal Republican member, Arlen Specter (PA) believes that the Pickering nomination is a battle primarily over abortion and expressed his concern . . ."that what we have here is a warm-up for a later confirmation battle on the Supreme Court." Such concern about Pickering's foes in the Unholy Alliance (radical Senate Democrats and radical pressure groups) is justified. The nation's largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, hysterically wailed that nominees of Pickering's caliber ". . .should come with a warning label, 'Beware [name of nominee] May be Hazardous to Women's Health and Civil Rights.'" (As a federal district judge, Pickering has not ruled in an abortion case.)
Even more sober-minded Democrats expressed concern over the Pickering debacle. Committee Democrat Joe Biden (DE), once the Committee chairman, agreed with Specter that the Constitution grants the power to "advise and consent" on Presidential appointments to the full Senate NOT to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Committee's authority extends to advising the Senate only, and no further.
Democrats argue that sending Pickering to the Senate floor without a favorable recommendation by the committee would be "unprecedented." But what are truly unprecedented are the Unholy Alliance's tantrums over Pickering, which apparently blind them to the truth. Since 1980, only seven judicial nominees have failed to receive a favorable recommendation from the Committee (out of over 1000 nominees handled by the Committee). But four of these were still sent to the Senate (two Circuit Court appointees like Pickering, and two Supreme Court nominees--Bork and Thomas). And Sen. Hatch contends that the records show that since 1950 the Committee has sent at least six lower court nominees to the floor without Committee approval. Judge Pickering himself was confirmed to his current U. S. District Court seat in 1990 by a unanimous, Democrat-controlled Senate (whose member included some of the Committee Democrats most viciously opposed to Pickering now--for reasons that have nothing to do with his 10+ years as a federal district judge).
The impaired ability of the Unholy Alliance to see the facts is evidenced in many other ways. The Alliance is clamoring for "balance on the bench" without ever acknowledging that the GOP-controlled Senate under Bill Clinton rejected only one Clinton judicial nominee (Ronnie White). Thanks to this incredible GOP complicity, there are now 374 Clinton judges on the bench (almost 50% of the federal judiciary). And despite the fact that Clinton judges have proven that they are liberal/activists, the tantrum-induced blindness of radicals opposing Pickering has led Sen. Richard Durbin (D-ILL) to argue that the Clinton judges are "moderate to right." Surely this transmogrification of truth wins the prize for the wildest assault on truth made thus far in a battle characterized by the trouncing of truth.
BUT WE CAN STILL FIGHT BACK!
Contact the White House, urging Pres. Bush to make the strongest defense to the Senate and the public for Pickering and his other qualified nominees:
Contact Presidential Counselor Karen Hughes, encouraging the same actions of her. (Contact via the White House phone number)
Contact your Senators: if they are Democrats, urge them to use their majority party power to generate a favorable vote for Pickering in the Committee and on the floor of the Senate; if they are Republicans, urge them to unleash all their power in favor of Pickering. Focus on the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, especially Sens. Feingold (WI) (202-224-5323), Kohl(WI) (202-224-5653), and Biden (DE) (202-224-5042). And be very involved if you are a resident of the Fifth Circuit (TX, LA, MS).
Let your Senators know that you will be following their vote, and that they will continue to hear from you about America's judicial crisis.
Flood the media during the next week -- talk shows, letters to the editor, etc. The media are a major battlefield in this fight for Courting Justice, and we MUST fight much more effectively.
Toll Free number to contact any U.S. Senator: 1-877-762-8762
TO BECOME A MORE EFFECTIVE COURT WATCHER IN THE FUTURE, JOIN US FOR:
"Courting Justice: A Conference on Judicial Reform"
TO FIGHT WELL THE LONG-RANGE BATTLE OVER AMERICA'S COURTS AND CULTURE, PLAN NOW TO ATTEND THE "COURTING JUSTICE CONFERENCE" WHICH IS DETAILED BELOW: