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What they lack in originality they make up for in audacity. Once again, obstructionism is the name of the game as Senate liberals use the same tired playbook to block President Bush’s judicial nominees. They have their marching orders from the usual suspects – Moveon.org, the ACLU, the Human Rights Campaign, People for the American Way, yada, yada – and predictably, Senate liberals are dutifully obedient. Since taking control six months ago, Democrats have approved a whopping three appellate court judges. They’re not just dragging their feet; they’ve firmly planted them.


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Judge Leslie Southwick

Case in point: There’s absolutely no legitimate reason for anyone to oppose President Bush’s nomination of Judge Leslie Southwick to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. In fact, the Senate has already unanimously confirmed Judge Southwick to his present position as a federal district judge. Not one senator – Democrat, Republican, liberal or conservative – voted against him. Since that time, nothing has changed relative to his suitability.

Sens. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., even gave their word of honor – for whatever that’s worth – to fellow committee member Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., that Southwick would be confirmed by Memorial Day. But that was before the liberal special interests weighed in. Reid and Leahy have now broken that promise and, along with other liberal senators, are shirking their constitutional duty to “advise and consent” by stubbornly blocking a fair up-or-down vote on Judge Southwick.

Unfortunately, Judge Southwick has become the target of a shameless and deceptive smear campaign by a handful of extremist left-wing special interest groups. Of course, those groups in no way represent mainstream America. They’re each challenging Southwick’s nomination based upon their own narrow agenda as opposed to consideration for what’s in the best interest of the American people.

By all reasonable accounts, Judge Southwick is exceptionally well-qualified and should be immediately confirmed. He has served our country with distinction and honor as an Iraq war veteran after requesting and receiving an age waiver explicitly so he could serve in a combat zone. That should make him a bona fide hero in anyone’s book. Furthermore, Judge Southwick is rated “unanimously well-qualified” by the American Bar Association.


It speaks volumes about Southwick’s eminently qualified status that, despite placing under a microscope nearly 7,000 cases he ruled on during 12 years on the Mississippi Court of Appeals, his critics were able to find only two opinions upon which to base their flimsy opposition. Ironically, Judge Southwick wrote neither opinion.

In one opinion, Southwick’s detractors complain of the court’s use of the term “homosexual lifestyle.” According to liberals, that’s a “homophobic” slur, you see. Isn’t it rich that Bill Clinton – that world-renowned homophobe – also used the term “homosexual lifestyle” while announcing his “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy? Additionally, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – an off-the-charts left-winger – concurred with the majority decision in Lawrence v. Texas, which also dared to address the “homosexual lifestyle.”

But even more annoying is the fact that – true to form – Judge Southwick’s attackers are once again playing that worn-out race card. By doing so, they’ve displayed their own anti-Southern-white-male racism for all to see. Because Judge Southwick is a white male from Mississippi, he must be a racist, goes the supposition.

Of course, the only case they’ve been able to drum up as evidence of this offensive and defamatory slur against Southwick suggests nothing of the sort. The case involved a state employee’s one-time use of the “n-word” while at work. Rather than exhibiting proof that Southwick is a racist, as his opponents would have you believe, the Southwick court actually ruled that “unwarranted use by a state employee of any inflammatory or derogatory term when referring to or directly addressing a co-worker is an action that cannot be justified by any argument.”

However, the court ruled the state cannot apply an “arbitrary, across-the-board rule” in determining how to discipline that employee. That’s it. For that, Southwick is being falsely portrayed by the left as Larry the Cable Guy’s cross-eyed cousin with a white hood in his pick-up and a rebel flag on his porch.

But there’s good news. Republicans in the Senate have said that – as Larry himself might put it – they’re fixin’ for a fight. They’ve publicly stated that they’re prepared to go to the mat over President Bush’s judicial nominees generally and Judge Southwick specifically.

Still, liberals are laboring under a critical misconception (sorry for stating the obvious). The American people aren’t as stupid and uninformed as they think. They’re becoming more and more aware of Judge Southwick’s impressive credentials and the fact that he selflessly and heroically gave up a lucrative law practice so he could bravely and honorably defend his country during a time of war.

If liberal senators keep it up, there’s little doubt the American people will be none too happy with them for denying this good man the fair up-or-down vote he so richly deserves.



Related special offer:

Sen. Tom Coburn’s “Breach of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders into Insiders”



Matt Barber is one of the “like-minded men” with Concerned Women for America. He is an attorney concentrating in constitutional law and serves as CWA’s policy director for cultural issues.

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