Pickering Nomination to Federal Bench Back on Senate Agenda

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 24, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pickering Nomination to Federal Bench Back on Senate Agenda

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
September 24, 2003

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The nomination of pro-life judge Charles Pickering to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is back on the agenda of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Although the panel is slated to take up the nomination tomorrow, the vote will likley be postponed for at least a week. Democrats on the committee object to Chairman Orrin Hatch’s (R-UT) scheduling of only one hearing and their objections will result a week’s delay.

A federal district judge in Mississippi, Pickering was the first of President Bush’s judicial nominations to be thwarted by pro-abortion Senate Democrats because of his pro-life stance.

In March 2002, Democrats controlled the Senate and, likewise, the Judiciary Committee. As a result, Pickering’s nomination was defeated on a party-line vote. President Bush renominated him in January.

Senator Jim Jeffords (I-VT), who is pro-abortion and normally votes with the Democrats, announced last week that he will not oppose Pickering’s nomination if it reaches the full Senate. He has opposed other pro-life nominees submitted by President Bush for federal judicial spots.

Jeffords’ support would make it easier for Senate Republicans to obtain 60 votes needed to end a possible filibuster.

"We are not going to let those in opposition to judges define a whole new protocol as to who is eligible to serve," said pro-life Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID).

Pro-life Democrats Zell Miller (D-GA) and Ben Nelson (D-NE) are expected to support Pickering as may one or two more Democrats.

Pro-abortion groups oppose Pickering’s nomination because of his pro-life views.

"The Feminist Majority joins a large coalition of women’s groups in opposition to Pickering’s nomination because of the Mississippi judge’s anti-women background," the pro-abortion organization said in a statement.

As a state Senator, Pickering supported a constitutional amendment to ban abortion and chaired the subcommittee of the National Republican Party that in 1976 approved a plank calling for an amendment to the US Constitution to make abortion illegal.

Democrats are currently filibustering Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen’s nomination to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans and Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor’s nomination to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Democrats have also threatened to filibuster Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Carolyn Kuhl’s nomination to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. All three are pro-life.

Pickering is the father of pro-life Rep. Chip Pickering (R-MS).

ACTION: Please contact your senators and urge strong support for the Pickering nomination. You can reach any senator at 202-224-3121 or you can find specific contact information for any senator at https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm