August 16, 2007

Don't forget Southwick!

The Senate may be out on its August recess, but this is no time to forget that the fight for Judge Leslie Southwick, nominated to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, is not yet over. Thanks to a principled favorable vote on the part of Senator Dianne Feinstein, Southwick finally made it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with their approval of his nomination (by a vote of 10-9). If all goes well, he will receive a full up-or-down vote on the Senate floor sometime this fall.

Some recent press coverage reminds us to keep Southwick - and the broader fight for those many capable judicial nominees still waiting for hearings or votes - in mind.

Leora Falk wrote in the Chicago Tribune this week about how Southwick "has become the latest flash point in the national political battle over the appointment of federal judges". Falk outlines the scope of the battle over the federal judiciary in general, speculating about the possible longer-term shape of the increasingly acrimonious partisan fight.

The (Jackson, Mississippi) Clarion-Ledger, for its part, covers in detail the 1994 '[racial] slur case' that has been so oft-cited by Southwick's opponents as evidence of his racism or racial insensitivity. This article breaks down the facts of the case and details the sequence of decisions that were handed down by Courts of various levels - a useful counter to the common claim that this piece of Southwick's judicial record is somehow evidence of his 'intolerant racial views'.