The Corner

Judge News: Jeffords to Vote For Pickering

Most insiders expect the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote on the

federal appeals court nomination of Charles Pickering, scheduled for

Thursday morning, to be delayed. Since this is the nomination’s first

appearance on the committee’s voting agenda, Democrats are entitled to ask

that the vote be put off until the committee’s next business session. But

one bit of news has come out before the meeting even begins. If Pickering’s

nomination eventually makes it to the Senate floor, he will get the vote of

a senator who has so far joined in the Democratic filibusters of other Bush

nominees. Last week, Vermont Sen. James Jeffords, who is nominally an

independent but votes with Democrats, announced that he would support

Pickering. This is part of Jeffords’ statement:

I solicit and listen to the opinions expressed by my colleagues and look at

the statements of the nominees. I also review decisions the nominee made in

the past, and examine the transcript from any nomination hearing that may

have occurred. I have done all this in this case, and in fact, have gone one

step further to meet with Judge Pickering to discuss some issues of concern

with his nomination.

Finally, just weeks before he died I took counsel from a very dear,

long-term friend of mine, the late Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge

Fred Parker. Judge Parker informed me of his personal knowledge and respect

for Judge Pickering, and his belief that Judge Pickering was well qualified

to serve on the federal circuit court of appeals.

From my review of all the information, I believe that Judge Pickering is

qualified to be a federal judge, and I will vote accordingly. I understand,

and fully respect, that some of my colleagues have come to a different

conclusion.

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