Bench Memos

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Re: Durbin’s Lies About Judge Southwick


The Left’s concocted distortions about Judge Southwick’s supposed racial insensitivities are also belied by the experience of those who know him well.  A few examples:


1.  In a letter to Senator Specter dated June 5, 2007, A. La’Verne Edney writes in support of Southwick’s nomination.  Edney, who describes herself as “an African-American partner” at a law firm in Jackson, Mississippi, served as a law clerk for Southwick.  Here is an excerpt from her letter:


“It did not matter the parties’ affiliation, color or stature—what mattered was what the law said and Judge Southwick worked very hard to apply it fairly.  Judge Southwick valued my opinions and included me in all the discussions of issues presented for decision.  Having worked closely with Judge Southwick, I have no doubt that he is fair [and] impartial.”


2.  In a letter to Senator Specter dated June 6, 2007, Patrick E. Beasley, another former Southwick clerk who is African-American, writes:


“Lastly, on the issue of fairness to minorities, I speak from personal experience that Leslie Southwick is a good man who has been kind to me for no ulterior reason.  I am not from an affluent family and have no political ties.  While I graduated in the top third of my law school class, there were many individuals in my class with higher grade point averages and with family ‘pedigrees’ to match.  Yet, despite all of typical requirements for the clerkship that I lacked, Judge Southwick gave me an opportunity.…  Judge Southwick is a fair man….


3.  In a letter to Senators Leahy and Specter dated June 6, 2007, former Mississippi supreme court justice James L. Robertson, who has known Southwick for two decades, offers his support of the nomination.  Robertson (who makes clear that he is well-known as someone who is not a supporter of President Bush and who says that he voted for Al Gore and John Kerry in 2000 and 2004) praises Southwick across the board.  He specifically avers that “there is not a hint of racism in Judge Southwick’s being.”  Indeed, on this latter point, Robertson states that he is “certain” that Southwick’s two longtime African-American judicial colleagues “would be the first to tell you this”—that is, that there is not a hint of racism in Southwick—if they were not prohibited by state judicial rules from providing such endorsements. 


By the way, the fact that Southwick had at least two black law clerks means that he had at least two more than Ruth Bader Ginsburg had at the time of her nomination to the Supreme Court.  (Indeed, in her 13 years on the D.C. Circuit, Ginsburg never had a single black law clerk, intern, or secretary among her total of 57 employees.)

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