Corn, David, The Nation
U.S. District Judge Kenneth Ryskamp does not deserve, as the Bush Administration maintains he does, to sit on the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A host of civil liberties, civil rights, labor and Jewish groups have opposed his nomination. They cite some of the decisions he has rendered since ascending to the bench in 1986, a reading of which suggests he may be uncomfortable with certain civil and constitutional rights. They have dug through pages of transcripts and found a few insensitive comments (in one instance, he remarked that use of the phrase "Colored Town" to describe an African-American community is not offensive). And they note that the judge, a Reagan appointee, was, until very, very recently, a member for twenty-three years of the Riviera Country Club of Coral Gables, Florida-what in polite society is called a "restricted" club. So restricted was it considered by its neighbors that in 1986 the city of Coral Gables refused to hold an event there, citing the club's discriminatory policies.
Ryskamp's decisions, utterances and association with the Riviera Club all present reasons for opposition. But the judge should be dumped on another ground-cravenness. Days before his recent Senate hearing, he resigned from the Riviera. …