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Sunday, May 18, 2003  

Charles Pickering is b-a-c-k

Matthew Langer at Untelevised observes the aging white-collar Klan judge has not accepted defeat.

So the Washington Times reports today that Republicans plan to bring up the renomination of Charles Pickering to the Fifth Circuit. Schumer says a filibuster is likely, and Lindsey Graham said he is "shocked, shocked to hear they're thinking of that."

Graham warns that the public is going to tire of the Democrats' obstructionist tactics. Hopefully Democrats will do a good job of reminding this tiring public of a few central facts: this would be only the third nominee blocked out of 128 total; one of the filibusters was lodged against a nominee who wouldn't answer questions and assist the Senate in their role of advise and consent; and this threatened filibuster along with that which is currently in place against Priscilla Owen would be a move to block a nominee who was already voted down by the Senate.

Pickering, who has a lengthy history as a neo-Confederate in actions if not membership, was rightly denied elevation previously.

Pickering was rejected on a straight party line vote last year when the Judiciary Committee was controlled by Democrats who said the judge had a poor record on women's and civil rights.

Recently, Pickering acquired the support of one member of the Mississippi legislature's black caucus.

Phillip West of Natchez said this week he supports Judge Charles Pickering in his run for federal appellate court judge. This comes only months after the Legislative Black Caucus voiced opposition to Pickering's nomination for his record on civil rights issues. Members met Thursday for three hours behind closed doors. Many of the legislature's 45 black members remained mum throughout the day. Then, as the meeting ended, they released a unified statement.

"The majority of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus members remained opposed to the nomination of Judge Charles Pickering to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. We'd also like to let you know that Representative Phillip West will remain chair of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus," said Rep. Mary Coleman of Jackson.

Wednesday, some black leaders had asked for West's removal as caucus leader. Thursday, they kept quiet when asked questions from the media. West had no response either. 

I believe it is key that we continue to point out the 'Pickering testified against the Klan to support civil rights' story is false. Pickering testified against the group in an intra-white Mississippian dispute between Klan members and White Citizens Council participants. He has never been a supporter of civil rights.

Nor should the Swan case, in which Pickering improperly intervened with federal officials to prevent an unrepentant cross-burner serving a full sentence be forgotten.

Swan said he drove the cross and the men in his pickup to the Polkey home, where they propped the gasoline-doused cross on a cedar tree and struck a match.

"The cross made a big old light and then the gasoline burned off," Swan said.

"There wasn't even any damage to the cedar tree."

...Swan admitted at trial he had used a racial epithet. But he says he's no racist.

"I'm guilty of sticking the cross up and burning it," he said. "But I'm not guilty of all the hate crime things they accused me of."

As for West, if possible it should be determined what Pickering is offering him in return for his support. Money or support for a business venture? Some kind of political quid pro quo? Not embarrasing him with some unsavory detail about his past? Methinks a bit of investigating by interested parties in Mississippi may unearth discrediting information about this quisling.

It is very important that the Democrats not give up because of the Bushites' stubborness. If ten filibusters of Pickering are necessary, they should occur.

Reese Isbell at Reese's World has accurately described what the administration's support of Pickering means.

[Pickering's nomination is] a symbol of the Bush administration's determination to push for everything it can get, to cram its agenda down its critics' throats.... And it symbolizes something else - that just in case anyone down in Dixie feared the White House was going soft after this Lott business, now there can be no doubts. We're not even talking winks and nods here - it's more like a billboard.

A billboard a cross-burner would love.

5:48 PM