Tomorrow, the U.S. Senate is scheduled to consider the nomination of Mississippi judge Leslie Southwick for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. As Roll Call reported (sub req'd) this week, to date Democrats have "steadily approv[ed] President Bush's top-tier judicial nominations."
But Southwick may be the first showdown. Dozens of groups including the Magnolia Bar Association, ACLU, Congressional Black Caucus have voiced opposition; Nan Aron of the Alliance for Justice spells out the case against Southwick at Huffington Post:
Leslie Southwick was a Mississippi Court of Appeals judge with a long record of hostility to workers and consumers. In fact, in 180 divided tort and employment cases, Judge Southwick voted against employees, consumers and other victims 89% of the time. When asked by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) in his hearing if he could think of one instance in nearly 7,000 opinions where he made an unpopular decision in favor of the powerless, the poor, minorities or the dispossessed, Judge Southwick responded no. And then there are his troubling rulings on civil and equal rights (These have already been discussed in detail -- for more on the "good ole n*****" and "homosexuality as grounds for losing custody" cases, see here and here).
Southwick's nomination is also notable because it continues a trend of nominees to the Mississippi federal bench that are all white. As the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger pointed out last month:
[S]ome of the acrimony is not really about Southwick. It's about the outrageous reality that of the last 15 vacancies on the federal bench in Mississippi, 14 were filled by white males and one by a white female.
It's about the reality that there is only one federal judgeship designated for African Americans in Mississippi, and President Reagan filled it in 1985 with Judge Henry T. Wingate. That was more than two decades ago!
See the Alliance for Justice's "Justice Digest" blog for more coverage.