Judge Smith and Pickering on Their Work; Choice of President's Nominees Should Not Be a Political Decision

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 26, 2002 | Go to article overview

Judge Smith and Pickering on Their Work; Choice of President's Nominees Should Not Be a Political Decision


Byline: Thomas L. Jipping, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A truly rare event occurs today in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee - a hearing on one of President Bush's appeals court nominees. Only three of even the first 11 nominees named last May have been so blessed.

On the other hand, a now-familiar pattern of abuse is emerging as the far left tries to smear another honorable man and distinguished nominee. This time it's D. Brooks Smith, chief U.S. district judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania and nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Judge Smith has experience in private practice, as a prosecutor, an elected state court judge (receiving both Democratic and Republican nominations), and 14 years as a federal judge. He has served on criminal-procedure rules committees for both the state and federal judiciaries and on the board of directors of the Federal Judges Association. He is a former board member of the Salvation Army and the county Legal Services Corp., Domestic Abuse Project and Society for Crippled Children and Adults. The liberal American Bar Association gave him its highest rating for appointment to the appeals court.

All of this, and the fact that the Constitution lets presidents appoint judges, is apparently not enough. The far left believes judges exist to impose a political agenda, to deliver the political goods. In their world, judges base decisions on political interests rather than the law; they are just supposed to rule the right (or, rather, the left) way in the end. That's why a nominee's personal opinions, values, beliefs and ideology are so important and why they believe only liberals are qualified to be federal judges.

Their attacks on Bush nominees aim to keep individuals not liberal enough off the bench today and to dissuade the president from nominating someone not liberal enough to the Supreme Court in the future. The truth alone, however, won't accomplish the goal. Hence the smear.

The liberal Washington Post's Sept. 17 editorial about appeals court nominee Charles Pickering (the Judiciary Committee votes on him Thursday) correctly described the elements of the smear campaign. It's an "ugly affair" in which the nominee's attackers focus "not on his qualifications, temperament, approach to judging or on the quality of his judicial work." Instead, they try to "paint him" a particular way they believe will make ordinary people recoil and senators vote no.

"To do so," The Post said, "they have plucked a number of unconnected incidents from a long career. None of these incidents, when examined closely, amounts to much, but opponents string them together, gloss over their complexities and self-righteously present a caricature of an unworthy candidate." It's actually worse than that. When examined closely, it's obvious the far left actually distorts and even makes up those unconnected and irrelevant incidents that form the fake caricature. …

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Judge Smith and Pickering on Their Work; Choice of President's Nominees Should Not Be a Political Decision
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