Republicans and Democrats alike are gearing up for battle over President Bush’s nominee for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Leslie Southwick. The former Mississippi Court of Appeals judge has inflamed both sides over the political divide with his racist, homophobic past.
Senator Obama shares the concerns of his fellow members of the Congressional Black Caucus that Judge Southwick would not adequately defend the rights of workers and enforce civil rights laws, and he opposes his lifetime appointment to the federal appeals court. Given the rocky history of appointments to this important seat on the court, Senator Obama believes the president should nominate a consensus candidate who will fairly interpret and uphold the laws of the nation.
Perhaps it’s because Southwick doesn’t understand the concept of national cohesion. He’s too concerned with the conservative friendly – and responsibility diffusing – federalism, which gives states the power.
Writing for The Huffington Post, People For the American Way Foundation Legal Director Judith E. Schaeffer explains:
[While a Mississippi judge, Southwick] joined a decision, over a strong dissent, upholding a chancellor’s ruling taking custody of an eight-year-old girl away from her birth mother, in large measure because the mother was living with another woman in a “lesbian home.”
Southwick went even further and also joined a gratuitously anti-gay concurring opinion extolling Mississippi’s right, under “the principles of Federalism,” to treat gay men and lesbians like second-class citizens. The concurring opinion suggests that sexual orientation is a choice, and states that while “any adult may choose any activity in which to engage . . . such person is not thereby relieved of the consequences of his or her choice,” in this case, losing one’s child.
Democrats have been delaying Southwick’s nomination process and some Republicans are now threatening to stall the government unless the left allows things to take their politically-motivated course. Only time will tell if the rival parties can work things out or if our government will again crumble under opposing ideologies. Isn’t it exciting!?
Meanwhile, another Bush ally’s raising some eyebrows. Our lovely President has nominated Dr. James W. Holsinger to be our nation’s next Surgeon General. And, like Southwick, Holsinger’s got a homo-hating past. Think Progress (via DailyKos) passes on some of his more noteworthy offenses:
Holsinger’s Senate hearing has not yet been scheduled.
If you’d like to pipe up about Southwick’s nomination, pass the Judiciary Committee a little note.