Bush nominates bigot for Fed Judge
Judge Nominee Runs Into Senate Confirmation Trouble
by The Associated Press
Posted: August 1, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET
(Washington) Senate Democrats stymied an effort by Republicans on Wednesday to force a floor vote on a controversial Mississippi judge in a new fight in the well-trod arena of judicial confirmations.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would move to table, or kill, a symbolic resolution calling for a vote of the full Senate on the appeals court nomination of retired Judge Leslie Southwick of Mississippi. But Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy put Southwick's nomination back before his panel when it meets Thursday.
President Bush nominated Southwick to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which serves Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.
Democrats have concerns about Southwick's writing in several cases.
One such case was a 1998 decision over an employee who had been fired for using a racial slur. Southwick voted with the majority in the 5-4 decision, writing that the slur "was not motivated out of racial hatred or animosity directed toward her co-worker or toward blacks in general."
In 2001, Southwick joined a ruling that upheld a lower court decision to take an eight-year-old girl away from her mother and award custody to the father, who had never married the mother, largely because the mother was living with another woman in a ?lesbian home.? (story)
Southwick's concurrence extolled Mississippi?s right under ?the principles of Federalism? to treat ?homosexual persons? as second-class citizens. The concurrence suggested that sexual orientation is a choice and suggest that mother might have held onto her child had she made a different "choice".
Republicans say Southwick's writings do not indicate that he is unfit for office and note that the American Bar Association has rated him unanimously well qualified.
Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., introduced a sense of the Senate resolution - which has no force of law - saying that Southwick should be granted a vote by the full body rather than in the highly partisan Judiciary Committee.
Southwick's nomination is the focal point for a broader fight over confirming Bush's judicial nominees that stretches back to 2005, when a group of 14 senators mediated a filibuster fight over the president's picks.
This is the 47th anti gay bigot that Bush has nominated for Federal office since the Democrats won back the Congress.