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Friday, July 13, 2007

Specter Stalls Southwick Nomination and then Blames Democrats

After the Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy stated that Judge Southwick did not have the votes to get out of committee and onto the floor of the Senate, Senator Specter requested more time to lobby on Southwick’s behalf. Chairman Leahy agreed, postponing a vote on Judge Southwick for several weeks. Well, now Senator Specter is accusing Chairman Leahy and the other Judiciary Committee Democrats of failing to move forward on Southwick’s nomination.

According to an article in The Politico this week, Senator Specter met with representatives of fifteen right-wing organizations liked Concerned Women of America and the Family Research Council. After that, he “accused the Democrats of ‘showing their muscle’ by stalling the Southwick nomination.” Despite the fact that Southwick would have likely been voted down several weeks ago were it not for Specter’s request for a delay.

Republicans are accusing Democrats of refusing to confirm President Bush’s nominees. However, the Senate has already confirmed three circuit court nominees and numerous district court nominees this year. President Bush, on the other hand, has made very few nominations and has been unwilling to work with the Senate to choose consensus nominees.

As the article points out:

Democrats aren't dragging their feet or flexing muscles, said Tracy Schmaler, a spokeswoman for Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). Her boss "continues to consult with home-state senators" on the Southwick nomination "in hopes of working out an accommodation."

As for critics of the pace of nominations under Leahy's leadership, Schmaler produced a chart that showed more Bush judicial nominees -- at all court levels -- have been approved, and in less time, under Leahy than during the tenures of two Republican chairmen working with Republican majorities.

"Cries from the other side of the aisle about the pace of judicial nominations ring hollow when faced with the facts," she said.

The Judiciary Committee would be remiss in their duty to advise and consent if they simply voted to confirm every nominee put forth by the president. As we have continually reported, Judge Southwick has a horrible record or ruling against workers, consumers, criminal defendants alleging race discrimination and other victims. There is no reason that the Judiciary Committee should feel pressured to confirm him.

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