Thursday, August 23, 2007

Taking Care of Business

Nan Aron cuts through the slimy lens of Republican (right wing? "conservative"? ) spin to show how that party's philosophy translates into actual practice. More tax cuts anybody? [N.B. Mr. Lee Iacoca says he'll give his tax cut back; well, only that he doesn't need it] :

The Post is wrong. Why are so many unions opposed to Southwick? Because Southwick voted against the interests of injured workers and consumers in divided decisions 89 percent of the time. Why are civil rights groups opposed? Because he also voted overwhelmingly -- 54 of 59 times -- against defendants alleging juror discrimination. That prompted his own colleagues on the Mississippi Court of Appeals to accuse him of "establishing one level of obligation for the State, and a higher one for defendants on an identical issue." Southwick, they charged in a dissent, placed his "stamp of approval on the arbitrary and capricious selection of jurors."

Southwick got achance to explain these decisions. Sen. Richard Durbin asked Southwick whether he could think of one example of an unpopular decision he had made in favor of the powerless, the poor, minorities or the dispossessed. The judge said he could not.

The opposition doesn't stem from anecdote but analysis, analysis that reveals overwhelmingly one-sided patterns. The Post said that opponents of Southwick "haven't made their case." But this argument doesn't reflect the most substantive points that opponents raise.

A nominee's record is the best predictor of what he or she will do on the bench. Southwick's record predicts that those in the 5th Circuit's jurisdiction have much to fear regarding their legal rights and protections. Moreover -- and overlooked by The Post -- the patterns in Southwick's record fit this administration's pattern of behavior. For with the assistance of conservative activists, allies in the Senate and in well-funded interest groups, and the amen chorus of commentators such as Will, George W. Bush has appointed a succession of appellate judges who will serve his administration's ideological agenda long after he has left office.

We cannot let this administration pack our courts with judges who share its disrespect for law and lack of compassion for the powerless. These nominees have turned their backs on our most fundamental rights and freedoms. The Senate should turn its collective back on Leslie Southwick and those like him.

WHEW! I LIKE IT. YOU GO, GIRL. Aron is president ofAlliance for Justice, an association of liberal advocacy organizations.

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