June 19, 2008

338 Days and Still Waiting...

Senator Specter (PN) held a press conference this afternoon in support of Bob Conrad, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals nominee who has been waiting nearly a year just to have a hearing on his nomination.

Joined by Conrad's home state senators Elizabeth Dole (NC) and Richard Burr (NC), as well as Orrin Hatch (UT) and Jeff Sessions (AL), who sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Specter recited Conrad's undeniably superb record, endorsements, and qualifications in calling for his expedient confirmation.

The American Bar Association has unanimously voted Conrad "Well Qualified" - their highest possible rating. Magnanimous letters of support have also been submitted from the President of his alma mater at Clemson University, North Carolina Bar Association, Chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, and President of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights (the latter debunks claims that any anti-Catholic statements were ever made by Conrad, who is himself a devout Catholic, and shows such claims to be nothing more than political cheap shots at man with a spotless record).

Also in attendance were several people whose lives Conrad has personally touched. His former supervisor at the United States Attorney's Office stated that, "[Conrad's] mantra was the pursuit of excellence. He lived life as we hope most judges would." A second grade Massachusetts schoolteacher shared fond memories of how Coach Conrad inspired her and twenty other young women on her youth basketball team to develop strong character on and off the court. Most poignant was a gentleman who had been a member of a street gang in his teenage years. Conrad's love for basketball and his willingness to see potential in the troubled young man turned out to be an extraordinary blessing. "I came to Judge Conrad on his docket ... He could have given me a life sentence. Instead he came to meet my mother and father." Conrad helped the young main gain tuition assistance to attend college and even arranged several job opportunities for him. Today, he is an employed and eloquent family man who is involved with community outreach. "I want to thank [Bob Conrad] for taking that time."

It should be noted that Republicans and Democrats alike have praised Conrad's experience, fairness, and sound decision making. Former Clinton Administration Attorney General Janet Reno previously remarked, "I am impressed with his judgment ... and his knowledge of law. He is an excellent prosecutor." Senator Dole stressed that she has great admiration and respect for Judge Conrad and that "it is appalling that a person of his quality has not been given a fair hearing ... This is a judicial emergency seat [in the Fourth Circuit which counts four vacant benches and an extraordinarily burdened caseload] ... It is an incredible injustice to him."

“No individual should have their life on hold for 338 days like Bob Conrad,” said Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., at a press conference. “It’s time to lay politics aside and fill this very important vacancy.”

Leahy (VT), Whitehouse (RI), and Feinstein (CA) have recently scolded the Senate Minority for undermining the integrity and character of their hearings with obstructive interruptions. Interesting to point out that these are among the same group of Senators who have thus far prevented a hearing for such an uncontroversial man of proven integrity and character as Bob Conrad.