Jewish World Review Jan. 21, 2004 / 27 Teves, 5764
The Pickering Recess Appointment: A Win for Equality in America
There's a double edged joke in the African American community, DWB that means Driving While Black which is a knock at the way some law enforcement officials use racial profiling to pull over Black men driving, for any reason. There is a new take on this double edged genre and that is WFM White From Mississippi. Charles Pickering was guilty of being White From Mississippi.
The Democrats in the United States Senate perverted the system to block the confirmation of Judge Charles Pickering. That perversion is over. President Bush used a recess appointment to rectify this situation for the benefit of the people of America. This appointment may make it more difficult for the "filibustered" judicial nominees waiting for their floor vote, but it was the right thing to do.
Charles Pickering is the model of what men of his era in the South had to grow through. He was born in the late 1930s and came of age in the era of Jim Crow. As most White men of his era in Mississippi he began his public life defending segregation. As he grew into a man, in his faith and in the law his words and the actions to back them up grew with him.
Many people talk strong civil rights credentials, but Charles Pickering lives them. He has worked to implement the law fairly even when it would have been more popular for him to leave things alone. He was called a racist. One of the examples that Judiciary Committee members as well as candidates for president give for this is the intervention by Pickering in the sentencing in a cross burning case. One of the convicted was given a much harsher penalty even though his roll was minimal. He intervened in this unseemly issue for fairness.
But Charles Pickering became a lawyer and through the development of his legal practice and through 40 years as a judge, he worked to implement the law fairly, even when it was unpopular. The Democrats called him a racist even though they could find no Black leaders from Mississippi to speak against him.
He testified at great danger to himself and his family against the KKK. He spoke at the state chapter of the NAACP and acted on his promises there. When school desegregation came, he continued to send his children to public school. While many White folks sent their children to private school, Pickering did not.
Charles Pickering has a record on race that most people in this country could not match and certainly not any member of this Judiciary Committee of the United States Senate. Most people in the South, while carrying the shame of Jim Crow have also lived more racially integrated lives than their counter parts in the rest of the country.
The larger question here is the "moving target" that Democrats seem to require of judicial nominations. If they are young, they say they are too young and will be on the court too long. If they are old, then certainly there is something in their past that will preclude them. If they have nothing in their past, then their faith or their opinions might in the future cause them to abuse their power. If there is one thing that history teaches us is that you cannot predict what the judiciary will do.
While Republicans did their share of stalling of judiciary nominations, it pale in comparison to the obstructionist tactics the Democrats are using. Most of these Democrats hate the President, hate conservatives and will do anything to stop them.
Conservatives are supposed to look the other way when a President uses the oval office as a bordello or when a Senate candidate leave a woman for dead, drowning in a car or when a Democrat Senate Majority Leader used to don a white cape and hood and espoused the ideas of the KKK. But when candidates are for strict enforcement of The Constitution and believe in G-d and practice their faith or stand up for The Boy Scouts and the unborn, Liberals think they are "frightening" and are "very concerned."
President Bush will continue to support his judicial nominees and Charles Pickering will make a fine 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge. The other nominees will be confirmed because they are qualified and with withstand the scrutiny. One can only hope that Miguel Estrada will again join the fight.
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JWR contributor Martha Zoller is a radio talk show host in Georgia. Comment by clicking here.
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© 2004, Martha Zoller