Let’s not call him a racist…even though the Magic 8 Ball says “All signs point to yes”
Looks like the Republicans have kept a cross burning in the window for their favorite Son of the Confederacy, Charles Pickering. The NY Times says: Just say no.
Charles Pickering of Mississippi, whose nomination for an important federal judgeship was wisely rejected once, is scheduled to be voted on again tomorrow in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Senate should again refuse to confirm him.
The Bush administration is pushing hard to put Judge Pickering, a federal district court judge, on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which covers Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. The first battle over Judge Pickering too often descended into a fight over whether he is a “racist.” The real question is whether he would be the kind of judge the Fifth Circuit â€” one of the most heavily minority circuits in the country â€” needs. His record strongly suggests he would not.
Judge Pickering’s actions in a cross-burning case alone should disqualify him. He took up the cause of a man convicted of burning a cross on the lawn of an interracial couple. He badgered prosecutors into dropping a key charge even after the man was convicted and called a prosecutor to lobby him, an unusual and improper move. That Judge Pickering, who has a record of being tough on criminals, was so passionate in this case shows, at the least, racial insensitivity. How he undertook the battle showed a lack of judicial ethics.
Other aspects of Judge Pickering’s record are also disturbing. He has been dismissive of voting rights doctrines, including “one person one vote.” He regularly sides with employers against workers who claim race and sex discrimination. And he has a troubling record of opposing abortion rights.
President Bush continues to present the Senate with bitterly divisive judicial nominees. Judge Pickering’s renomination is a particularly bellicose move, because the Senate has already denied him confirmation once. The Senate should insist on being sent more appropriate nominees.
Time to send him back to Tara….