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Friday, August 3, 2007

Southwick Goes to the Floor

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-9 to send the nomination of Judge Leslie Southwick to the full Senate. The nine Republicans on the committee voted in favor of Southwick’s nomination, along with one Democrat, Dianne Feinstein of California. The other nine Democrats voted against his nomination. Senators Durbin, Schumer, Cardin, Leahy and Kennedy spoke out against Judge Southwick and reviewed his horrible record of ruling against consumers, employees and racial minorities. Senators Specter and Feinstein spoke in favor of Judge Southwick’s confirmation, and accused his opponents of unfairly portraying his record and focusing on only one or two cases.

As Alliance for Justice has continually reiterated, in his decade on the Mississippi Court of Appeals, Judge Southwick compiled a record of voting against consumers and employees in divided cases nearly 90% of the time. Moreover, the two cases that have been discussed the most should not be excused lightly. In one he minimized an employee’s use of the “n” word to refer to a co-worker. In another he argued that a woman’s “choice” to engage in a same-sex relationship was a legitimate reason to deny her custody of her child.

Alliance for Justice immediately expressed our disappointment and disbelief at the Judiciary Committee vote. “The members of the Senate Judiciary Committee had an opportunity to listen to the American people who voted for change last November. Instead, what we saw today was business as usual in continuing to help President Bush pack the courts,” AFJ President, Nan Aron said. “Senators must recognize the transformation that is taking place on the circuit court level particularly given these judges decide tens of thousands of cases.” Other organizations including the Congressional Black Caucus and Working Assets expressed their outrage as well.

Alliance for Justice will continue to work against Judge Southwick’s confirmation and to ensure his defeat in the full Senate. For more on Judge Southwick’s record click here.

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