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Bench Memos

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Heroes and Scoundrels



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I’ll turn shortly to the numerous Senate scoundrels in the Southwick confirmation process.  But let me begin by praising some heroes:  Senator Specter and his staff, who went to extraordinary lengths to make sure senators had available the real facts about Judge Southwick’s record; Senators McConnell, Cochran, and Lott, who worked tirelessly behind the scenes; and especially Senator Feinstein, who displayed her courage and character in standing up courageously to the jackals on her side who were maligning Judge Southwick. 

 

Also deserving praise are the 12 Democrats in addition to Feinstein who voted for cloture on the nomination:   Akaka, Byrd, Carper, Conrad, Dorgan, Inouye, Johnson, Lieberman, Lincoln, Nelson of Nebraska, Pryor, and Salazar.  (Carper, Inouye, and Salazar voted against Southwick on the final confirmation vote, but they nonetheless deserve credit for their vote on cloture.)

 

The Senate scoundrels are too numerous to name, but at the top of the list is Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Pat Leahy, who, by virtue of his position, had a special obligation to act responsibly but who instead compounded his endless lies and distortions with his usual smarminess.  Ditto for majority leader Harry Reid.  All the other Democrats who voted against cloture also belong in the Hall of Shame, but I’ll particularly identify a few who I mistakenly thought might have more courage and decency than they do:  Robert P. Casey, Jr. of Pennsylvania (a particular disappointment as his father was a hero of mine), Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Jon Tester of Montana, and Jim Webb of Virginia.


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