Bench Memos

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Leahy’s “Anti-Catholic” Smear


Last July, President Bush nominated federal district judge Robert J. Conrad to a putative North Carolina seat on the Fourth Circuit.  The ABA judicial-evaluations committee unanimously gave Conrad its highest rating of “well qualified,” and Conrad has the strong support of both North Carolina senators.  But nearly nine months after Conrad’s nomination, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Pat Leahy has refused to afford Conrad a hearing.


At a committee meeting yesterday, Leahy tried to defend his obstruction by accusing Conrad of making “anti-Catholic comments about a nun.”  In fact, Conrad, himself a Catholic, had in 1999 criticized a nun for “the near total contempt [she] displayed for the Roman Catholic Church.”  In short, Conrad was defending the Catholic church from the anti-Catholic comments he believed the nun to have made.  It’s scurrilous for Leahy to accuse Conrad of being anti-Catholic, and it’s just further evidence that Leahy will stoop to ever new lows to obstruct judicial nominees.  

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