October 27, 2003

Civil Rights Groups Blast Bush Court Nominee

Where is Ralph Nada today? No difference? Yes, *some*
of the Senate Democrats have shown themselves craven
and cowardly at times since the coup of 2000 (and
before it as well, of course), BUT they have
distinguished themselves in these four filibusters and
now must begin a fifth against Janice Brown...They
cannot hold out forever. The electoral battle in 2004
is really the last chance for a long time in this
country. Will the electoral process be derailed as it
was in 2000 and probably 2002 as well? Yes, it will
be...The only antidote is massive voter turnout AND a
powerful awareness campaign about the dangers of black
box voting, etc. We must do this ourselves, because
the "US mainstream news media" are far more craven
than even most Senate Democrats...

Jim Loeb: "To date, four nominees to federal appeals courts--Texas judge Priscilla Owen, District of Columbia attorney Miguel Estrada, Mississippi Judge Charles Pickering, and Alabama Attorney General William Pryor--have been the subject of successful filibusters by Senate Democrats. "


Published on Monday, October 27, 2003 by OneWorld.net

Civil Rights Groups Blast Bush Court Nominee
by Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON -- Civil rights groups, which have been
pressing Senate Democrats to filibuster a series of
important judicial nominations by President Bush, are
now mobilizing opposition to the latest nominee,
California Supreme Court justice Janice Rogers Brown.

Brown, nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
District of Columbia Circuit, has also come under fire
from other sources, including the New York Times,
which on Saturday described her nomination as "among
the very worst ...of the many unworthy judicial
nominees President Bush has put forward." The D.C.
Circuit is widely considered to be the second-most
important court in the United States, after the
Supreme Court itself.

Among other positions she has taken over the years,
Brown once attacked the New Deal as "the triumph of
socialist revolution" and, as noted by the Times, she
praised a series of Supreme Court decisions in the
early 20th century that found laws approved by
Congress to protect the health and safety of workers
to be illegitimate interference by the state in

A large coalition of women's, civil rights, labor, and
environmental groups is already on record against
Brown whose ultra-conservative views on many
public-policy issues are similar to those of Supreme
Court Associate Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence

Her views were the major focus of her first
confirmation hearing before the Senate Judicial
Committee last Thursday. Democrats bombarded her with
questions about her past statements. Brown, who is
African-American, generally stood by them, although
she insisted that there was a difference between her
personal political views and her responsibilities as a

"I absolutely understand the difference between being
a speaker and being a judge," she told the committee
at one point.

When Sen. Richard Durbin asked her about her
comparison of the New Deal to socialist revolution,
she replied that she was addressing law students in
order to provoke discussion at the time. Pressed on
the issue, however, she said, "The speech speaks for

Durbin charged that Brown's opinions on the California
Supreme Court, which she joined in 1996, "are outside
the mainstream of America." In some of her decisions,
he asserted, she had ignored clear judicial precedent
and based her opinions on purely personal views.

In one case cited by her critics, Aguilar v. Avis Rent
a Car Systems, Inc., Brown dissented from a majority
decision that ordered the company to stop its
supervisor from calling Hispanic workers by racial
epithets. In a lone dissent, she argued that racially
discriminatory speech in the workplace, even if it
rises to the level of illegal discrimination, is
protected by the company's First Amendment right to
free speech.

"Justice Brown's opinions on civil rights and
discrimination cases are perhaps the most troubling
part of her record," according to a resolution
approved recently by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.,
an national African-American women's service and
education organization, "revealing a blatant disregard
for judicial precedent and a desire to limit the
ability of victims of discrimination to sue for

In a letter sent to senators earlier this month, the
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) also came
out in strong opposition to her nomination. "Not only
does she show an inability to dispassionately review
cases," the letter said, "but her opinions are based
on her extremist ideology and also ignore judicial
precedent, even that set by the United States Supreme

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has opposed her
nomination for the same reasons.

The American Bar Association gave her an unusually
poor rating. None of the members of the evaluation
committee found that she was "well qualified." A
majority found her to be "qualified," while a minority
gave her a rare "not qualified" rating.

Brown enjoys support among Republicans, however, who
have complained that Democrats have transformed
judicial confirmations into partisan fights. "She is a
conservative African-American woman," said Committee
chairman Orrin Hatch, "and for some that alone
disqualifies her nomination to the D.C. Circuit."

But Democrats points out that they have approved twice
as many judicial nominations at this point in Bush's
term as Republicans had approved at a comparable point
in former President Bill Clinton's term. Noting that
Republicans charged that Democratic opposition to
Estrada was also grounded in the fact that he was a
conservative Latino, Democrats have complained that
the administration has been playing a race card of its

To date, four nominees to federal appeals
courts--Texas judge Priscilla Owen, District of
Columbia attorney Miguel Estrada, Mississippi Judge
Charles Pickering, and Alabama Attorney General
William Pryor--have been the subject of successful
filibusters by Senate Democrats.

Of these, only Estrada withdrew his name from
consideration. Estrada, who worked in the Justice
Department under Attorney General John Ashcroft,
provoked even Republican ire by refusing both to
answer questions about his judicial philosophy and to
hand over memoranda he had prepared while serving
under Ashcroft.

The other nominations are still pending. Republicans
said they were hoping to move Pickering's nomination
to the floor in the coming week, but Democrats say
they will filibuster against him, as they have
successfully in the past. Breaking a filibuster
requires that a minimum of 60 senators vote to close
debate. Pickering's foes charge that his views on
abortion and race are too far outside mainstream views
to hold a powerful position in the nation's judicial

Mississippi Republican Sen. Trent Lott, a sponsor of
Pickering's nomination, said that if he is not
approved this week, Pickering will have to consider
withdrawing. "We are going to get him confirmed, or
he's going to probably, at the end of the session,
have to re-evaluate whether he wants to continue the
battle," Lott said.

Copyright 2003 OneWorld.net


Posted by richard at October 27, 2003 07:01 AM