Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review March 1, 2002 / 16 Adar, 5762

Diana West

Diana West
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Pickering doesn't polarize, the process does -- IT'S not easy to decide which weapon wielded in the character assassination of Judge Charles W. Pickering Sr. has done more dishonor to our democracy: the lies and half-truths that have falsely caricatured an upstanding public servant, or the pedestal-ready self-righteousness with which these lies and half-truths have been told and left hanging. "Hopefully, this destructive political process will stop," Rep. Charles W. Pickering Jr., (R-Miss.) said last week, voicing a son's frustration over a father's ordeal. On this point, at least, the congressman has reason to be hopeful. The process will stop, all right. But not until after the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote down Judge Pickering's elevation to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

And while that vote will almost surely end the political process for the 64-year-old federal judge from Mississippi, abruptly releasing him from the Senate's pincer-like grip, the political destruction he has suffered at its hands has no conclusion. It remains a shameful testament to the grossly abusive, modern-day confirmation process.

Don't just take my word. "Opposing a nominee should not mean destroying him," said the Washington Post -- not exactly the conservative voice of empathy -- in editorializing on the Pickering nomination. "And the attack on Judge Pickering has become an ugly affair. ... The need on the part of liberal groups and Democratic senators to portray him as a Neanderthal -- all the while denying they are doing so -- in order to justify voting him down is the latest example of the degradation of the confirmation process."

And so, a man whom James Charles Evers, brother of murdered civil rights activist Medgar Evers, praises for a racially "inclusive approach to politics" is transformed by the attack-jargon of the inflamed Left into a knuckle-dragging throwback who, as the National Women's Law Center's Marcia Greenberger puts it, lacks "commitment to protecting the rights of ordinary citizens."

Evers -- no Republican -- writes of Pickering's "admirable record on civil rights issues," beginning with his 1967 testimony against a Ku Klux Klan leader accused of firebombing a civil rights activist's home (testimony that cost Pickering his re-election as local prosecutor), but Greenberger sees fit to denounce the man for an "antagonistic view of civil rights for minorities."

Then there's what People for the American Way calls Pickering's "disregard for the separation of church and state" demonstrated "by repeatedly using his position on the bench to promote involvement in religious programs."


A typical example from the PFAW report concerns the sentencing of someone convicted of conspiracy to commit murder. Pickering spoke of the man's need to participate in "the study and consideration of effects and consequences of crime ... in a civilized society. This," he explained, "may be a program through your church or some other agency or organization so long as it is approved in advance by the probation service." As National Review's Byron York has noted, the PFAW report underscores the words "through your church or some other such agency" as evidence of theocratic impulses only an ayatollah could share.

Abortion rights activists also weigh in on the Pickering appointment. In some 4,000 cases on the federal bench, Pickering has never actually heard an abortion case. Still, as a political conservative, he's been tagged by National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League's Kate Michelman as "part of a continuing effort to hasten the reversal of (Roe v. Wade) and the end of legal abortion." Pickering's personal opposition to abortion may be clear from his record as a Mississippi state senator, but as a Legal Times analysis of Pickering's judicial career points out, he's testified that he would "consider it his 'duty as an appellate ... judge to follow'" Roe v. Wade. So much for hastening the landmark decision's reversal. The subtitle of the Legal Times article, by the way, is "You won't get the full story on Charles Pickering Sr. from liberals' portrayal of life and record."

That portrayal, however, has been gulped down as gospel by Senate Democrats eager for guidance on which to reject a conservative nominee to the appellate court who is not only ranked "well qualified" by the American Bar Association, but who, as a nominee to the federal bench in 1990, has been confirmed unanimously once before by the full Senate. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, repeatedly uses the word "polarizing" to explain the Democrats' expected rejection of the appointment. What is polarizing, however, is not Pickering, but the personal smear campaign against him. Senate Democrats may wash their hands of the matter by voting "nay" tomorrow, but that's not very likely to leave them clean.

JWR contributor Diana West is a columnist and editorial writer for the Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.


02/26/02: Destiny's prefabricated child
02/22/02: The White House heist
02/20/02: Making the grade
02/11/02: Studying student visas
02/06/02: Understanding arrogance
02/04/02: The professor's war
01/29/02: Disconnected dialogue
01/23/02: Anti-Indiscrimination
01/18/02: How much is enough?
01/15/02: Oh brothers, where art thou?
01/10/02: Air on the side of caution
01/04/02: Blacks seeing red at Harvard
01/02/02: Clinton's campaign continues
12/26/01: A tale of two exhibitions
12/24/01: Taliban Idyll
12/19/01: Right is right
12/17/01: Hillary strikes out
12/13/01: Lost files, lost presidency
12/10/01: Revolutionaries never grow up
12/05/01: Immigration reform talk is not just for 'haters' anymore
12/03/01: A new symbol of justice
11/30/01: Beyond morality
11/26/01: Can't keep a good man down
11/20/01: Tough talk at the United Nations
11/19/01: Hollywood's other battle
11/14/01: What's the matter with Sara Jane?
11/09/01: A beef with bin Laden's Beef Noodles
11/07/01: Facing up to the FBI's past mistakes
11/02/01: A school that teaches patriots to shutup
10/30/01: The gap between Islam and peace
10/26/01: The ties that bind (and gag)
10/24/01: This war is more than Afghanistan
10/22/01: The fatuous fatwa
10/19/01: Left out
10/16/01: Whose definition of terrorism?
10/11/01: Post-stress disorder
10/08/01: How the West has won
10/01/01: Good, bad or ... diplomacy
09/28/01: Drawing a line in stone
09/21/01: Prejudice or prudence?
09/14/01: When our dead will finally rest in hallowed ground
09/07/01: We want our #$%^&*() audience back!
08/24/01: The transformation from Green Mountain State to Green Activist State is all but complete
08/17/01: Enlightenment at Yale
08/10/01: From oppressors to victims, a metamorphosis
08/03/01: Opening the dormitory door: College romance in the New Century
08/01/01: How-To Hackdom: The dubious art of writing books about writing books
07/20/01: Hemming about Hemmings
07/13/01: Justice has not been served in the Loiuma police brutality case
06/22/01: When PC parades are too 'mainstream'
06/22/01: When "viewpoint discrimination" in our schools was not nearly so gnarly a notion
06/15/01: Lieberman flaunts mantle of perpetual aggrievement
06/07/01: Is graciousness the culprit?
06/01/01: The bright side of the Jeffords defection
05/29/01: Campus liberals should be more careful
05/18/01: 'Honest Bill' Clinton and other Ratheresian Logic
05/11/01: Dodging balls, Bugs, and 'brilliance'
05/04/01: Foot in mouth disease and little lost Tories
04/20/01:The last classic Clinton cover-up
04/20/01: D-Day, Schmee-Day
04/06/01: For heaven's sake, a little decency!
03/30/01: The sweet sound of slamming doors and clucking feminists
03/23/01: America's magazines and the 'ick-factor'
03/09/01: Felony neglect
03/02/01: Who's sorry now?
02/23/01: 'Ecumenical niceness' and other latter-day American gifts to the world
02/16/01: Elton and Eminem: Royal dirge-icist meets violent fantasist
02/12/01: If only ...

© 2001, Diana West