January 10, 2003
Pickering : It's Not Just About Race
As Joe Conason emphasizes, despite some latter-day excuses (hey, he didn't perjure himself in testimony against a Klan member), Charles Pickering, Bush's nominee for an Appeals Court seat, was a defender of segregation:
[in the 1960s] a "moderate" was someone who defended segregation but didn't practice or advocate brutal violence to suppress the black freedom struggle.But progressives should not fall into the trap of focusing only on his past or we make the mistake of encouraging just whitewashed substitutes, a la Bill Frist stepping in for Trent Lott.
One thing in Pickering's long career is quite clear: He left the Democratic Party to join the Republicans in 1964 in protest against the Democrats' support for civil rights.
As Senator Patrick Leahy said in hearings last Spring, the problem with Pickering is in the present, in his work on the lower court bench where he described Pickering as a judicial activist who "repeatedly injects his own opinions into his decisions on issues ranging from employment discrimination to voting rights."
One notable thing about Pickering is his attempt to act in secrecy, refusing to publish most of his decision from the federal bench. In his 11 years on the bench, Judge Pickering has published fewer than 100 of the approximately 1,100 opinions that he has estimated he has written in that time. People for the American Way has extensively outlined Pickering's views in the published decisions that are available (with obvious fears of far worse in his hidden ones).
Here's a sampling:
The list goes on and worth checking out, but the bottom-line is that Pickering, like too many other Bush nominees, is extreme in ideology and should be rejected based on his PRESENT judicial and political beliefs, not just on his racist past.
Posted by Nathan at January 10, 2003 09:11 AM
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