15
May
09

Related Newswires Articles on the Supreme Court – Salon

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Updated Newswires:

Obama down to two Court finalists?
from Salon: War Room | By Alex Koppelman

Yesterday, President Obama interviewed 7th Circuit Cour of Appeals judge Diane Wood, who is reportedly one of two finalists on Obama’s very short short-list of finalists for the Supreme Court vacancy created by David Souter’s pending retirement.

The other? US Solicitor General Elana Kagan.

Both women were in town yesterday for a conference at the Georgetown University Law Center. Kagan gave the keynote address.

Alabama Senator Linked to White Supremacists
from Salon.com | David A. Love

I can appreciate the value of diversity on the bench, of having more than the usual “suspects” wielding the gavel.

But it seems unlikely that the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jefferson Beauregard “Jeff” Sessions (R-Alabama), feels the same way. Sessions, it should be noted, was nominated by Reagan in 1985 to a federal judgeship, but was dinged by the Senate. Sessions was a critic of the Voting Rights Act. He had called the NAACP and the ACLU “un-American” and “Communist-inspired” groups that “forced civil rights down the throats of people.” In addition, as a U.S. attorney in Alabama, he reportedly called a Black assistant U.S. attorney “boy”, and told him to “be careful what you say to white folks.” As a federal prosecutor, Sessions engaged in a voter-fraud witch-hunt against three Black civil rights workers, including a former aide to Dr. King. Moreover, during a 1981 KKK murder investigation, Sessions was heard by several colleagues commenting that he “used to think they [the Klan] were OK” until he found out some of them were “pot smokers.”
As a senator, Sessions voted against expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation. Based on his voting record, he has a 0% rating from the Human Rights Campaign (he is anti-gay rights), a 7% rating from the NAACP (he is anti-affirmative action), and a 20% rating from the ACLU (he is anti-civil rights). And this is the person the Republicans have entrusted in a position of leadership in this important committee in the Senate. It speaks volumes about the GOP and the statement they are making here, particularly when one considers Sessions’ association with anti-immigration, White nationalist groups.
A lawmaker with a solid anti-immigration record, Sessions is criticized by immigrants’ rights groups for his anti-immigration rhetoric, and for his close associations with three organizations: the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and NumbersUSA. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which has designated FAIR as a hate group, notes that all of these organizations “were founded and funded by John Tanton, a retired Michigan ophthalmologist who operates a racist publishing company and has written that to maintain American culture, ‘a European-American majority’ is required.” He has published writings by John Vinson, head of Tanton’s American Immigration Control Foundation, and a devout White supremacist. Vinson has called for the secession of the former Confederate states in order to racially and economically protect Whites.
An additionally related document on the topic of  “hate groups”, authored by our Homeland Security Department, and entitled Domestic Extremism Lexicon may be viewed here in pdf format.

Alberto Gonzales jumps on the empathy-bashing bandwagon
from Salon: War Room by Ben Travers

There are lot of laudable qualities a person might have — honesty, intelligence, temperance — and probably most people in the world would agree that “empathy,” the ability to identify with another human being’s feelings and circumstances, is one of them. But prominent conservatives have been slamming President Obama for saying empathy is one of the things he’s going to look for in potential replacements for retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter.

On Wednesday, during an appearance on NPR’s “Tell Me More,” former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales got in on the act. (Hat-tip to Think Progress’ Matt Corley.) Here’s the transcript:

MICHEL MARTIN: I wanted to again cite the president’s words when he said, “I view the quality of empathy of understanding and identifying with people’s hopes and struggles as an essential quality for arriving at just decisions and outcomes.” I wanted to ask you, Attorney General Gonzales, do you think that, do you agree with that? Do think that’s appropriate? GONZALES: Well, I think everyone wants to think that their government officials are kind, compassionate people. And I think someone having that kind of image is certainly helpful in a confirmation hearing. I do worry a little bit, well, I worry, I worry about about justices on the court making decisions based on what they think makes them feel good. I don’t think it’s fair to expect society to anticipate the outcome of a case based upon what makes a justice feel good. In essence what you’re saying, I think, is that “I’m going to, I don’t care what the law says, I’m going to come out, I’m going to pursue an outcome that I think is fair and just. I’m going to rewrite the law.” And I think that’s dangerous.

GONZALES: Well, I think everyone wants to think that their government officials are kind, compassionate people. And I think someone having that kind of image is certainly helpful in a confirmation hearing. I do worry a little bit, well, I worry, I worry about about justices on the court making decisions based on what they think makes them feel good. I don’t think it’s fair to expect society to anticipate the outcome of a case based upon what makes a justice feel good. In essence what you’re saying, I think, is that “I’m going to, I don’t care what the law says, I’m going to come out, I’m going to pursue an outcome that I think is fair and just. I’m going to rewrite the law.” And I think that’s dangerous.

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