Missing In Action: On the Radio, Not the Web

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Sep 22, 2006 5:21 PM

My apologies for being so unbloggy today.

I was, indeed, co-hosting Kevin McCullough's show, which was a ton of fun. I got to meet Judge Pickering, who has become a symbol of the vicious judicial wrangling of the past couple of years. His story has always struck a chord with me. He is, by all accounts (okay, except for the account of People for the American Way), a great judge from Mississippi with a pretty outstanding record on race relations back when it wasn't cool to have an outstanding record on race relations in Mississippi.

Despite all his efforts however, when he was nominated by Bush in 2002, lefty groups went after one case in which he argued that giving seven years in prison to a young man who had burned a cross when he was drunk was disproportiate. At the time, he was using as comparison a case in which the Janet Reno Justice Department had seen fit to offer a man with a similar offense (and a history of racially motivated crime) a plea bargain and a negligible sentence. Pickering actually sentenced the man in his case to much more time than the Reno plea bargain would have meant for that offender.

Anyway, all of these little details got lost in this storyline: "Old White Judge From Mississippi Goes Easy on Cross-Burner. You Know, Because They're All Racists Down There Anyway." Here's a CBS interview in which Pickering talks about the whole issue.

That makes me ill. This is a man who came from a segregated society and did much to turn his corner of the South into a more harmonious place, back when it was hard to do that. He should be applauded for that. Instead, liberals found a conservative (and pro-life) judge they didn't like, one tiny part of one tiny decision they could demagogue, and they ran with it. Many black leaders in Mississippi were surprised, indeed, to find the man they had known for years was racist. You know, because he's not.

Anyway, I'm happy to hear that the Judge is happy in retirement, writing books, and playing with his grandkids, but I think it's a loss for the judicial community that he and many others like him will shy away from the bench in the future because of the treatment he received for four years. Four years being smeared as a racist is no small thing, and I don't blame law students one bit for wanting to head in the other direction. But we're all losing out because of it.

I should add...I haven't listened to the podcast yet, so I may have more to say about it later if I re-listen.

We also talked to Tony Perkins of FRC. Kevin tackled the marriage question. I kept quiet mostly because the only question I could think to ask was, "So, Mitt Romey is a big ally on the marriage fight and pretty savvy and knowledgeable about the issue. What do you think that does for his chances with evangelicals in '08?"

Hee, I think I'm a different kind of social conservative.

Kevin also let me hit on Eli Manning over the airwaves, which I greatly appreciate. All I need is a platform, baby.

So, if you want to hear me act like a dork over the airwaves, there should be a podcast up here. Some people had trouble with the audio earlier, so I'll update if I get a direct link to my specific show.

I'll have more blogging later tonight, since I've been offline all day, but I gotta run to another thing now. I'll be back on soon.

Thanks to Kevin for having me today, and thanks to Allah for the shout-out on the radio appearance, though I was doing my best to hide my broadcast ineptitude. Ha.