Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) shocked extreme left-wing liberal groups three months ago when she “broke ranks” to send Judge Leslie H. Southwick, President Bush’s nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, for a full Senate vote with a favorable recommendation. But no one should have been surprised.
Judge Southwick graduated cum laude from Rice University. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law in 1975 and is now a visiting professor at Mississippi College of Law. He is a highly respected attorney, was Deputy Assistant Attorney General, served as a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps in the U.S. Army for five years, served as a member of the Mississippi Court of Appeals for 12 years, and most recently, served heroically in Iraq as a member of the Mississippi National Guard.
Even the American Bar Association (ABA) unanimously gave Judge Southwick a “well qualified” rating — the highest rating a judge can receive.
So it is not at all surprising for anyone to support a nominee with such an impeccable record. In fact, most people would admire and respect someone that has served our country so honorably.
What is surprising is that anyone would oppose this nominee. And Sen. Feinstein’s fair mindedness in this instance actually highlights the extreme position and severely flawed reasoning of those who oppose Judge Southwick and shows their motives to be less than honorable. Using century-old stereotypes that the American people have tried so hard to eradicate, some senators have made false and damaging accusations to placate extreme left-wing special interest groups, regardless of the truth and the damage they do to the reputation of this American hero and his family. In her statement supporting Judge Southwick, Sen. Feinstein told her colleagues:
“I think what sometimes gets lost in our debates about judicial nominees is that they are not just a collection of prior writings or prior judicial opinions. They are, first and foremost, people. And in my conversations with Judge Southwick, I have gotten a sense of what kind of person he is, and the kind of appellate judge that I believe he will be, given that opportunity. …
“I truly believe that the concerns outlined about Judge Southwick are outweighed by his record of service to the country, by the many cases that he sat on, by his long experience as an appellate judge, and by the temperament that I have come to know from my discussions with him.”
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