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Pickering's Nomination Gets a Second Chance

January 16, 2003

Re "Bush's Full-Court Press," editorial, Jan. 13: President Bush renominated Judge Charles W. Pickering Sr. because he is a well-qualified nominee who was unfairly treated by Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee. These 10 senators refused to allow his nomination to reach the floor of the full Senate, where it was likely that Pickering would be confirmed.

Prior to the Democrats' stunning defeat in the last midterm election, Democratic senators were on record for judging Pickering based on his personal political views rather than on his qualifications and willingness to follow the law. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) even stated that President Bush did not have a large mandate in the 2000 election and claimed that he could therefore not expect support for nominees deemed outside the mainstream by Democrats on the Judiciary Committee.

Your editorial claims that Pickering's renomination "throws another steak to the far right and sand in the eyes of most Americans." Instead, it is a refutation of attempts by far-left senators to usurp the right of the members of the full Senate to cast their votes and to inject a political litmus test into the confirmation process.

Thomas R. Damiani

Newport Beach

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It's a falsehood to say Pickering is "a man the Senate rightly rejected last year for a seat on the federal appeals court." The Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines (10-9) to kill the nomination in committee. There is a fundamental difference between the Senate (a deliberative body that confirms or rejects presidential nominees) and a committee of the Senate.

But I guess facts are relative in your worldview. If the definition of "is" is relative, why should the definition of "Senate" be absolute?

Sterling Delone

Los Angeles

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Despite Sen. Trent Lott's (R-Miss.) resignation as his party's leader, racism is obviously alive and well in the Republican Party -- more specifically in the White House, since President Bush had no concern about renominating Pickering, a man who advocated lenient sentencing for a cross-burning klansman. Nor was he troubled by his renomination of Carolyn Kuhl, who argued that racist Bob Jones University should enjoy tax-exempt status. I guess Lott's "shotgun" resignation wasn't the cure-all the GOP made it out to be.

Tim Paine

North Hollywood

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