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Sunday, January 18, 2004

The Pickering appointment

All of the Democratic Presidential candidates have condemned President Bush's recess appointment of Charles Pickering to the Fifth Circuit, including some who were among the unanimous US Senate that voted to confirm him to seat on the US District Court in Mississippi he's vacating.   But as usual, Howard Dean was the farthest over the top in his criticism:

"I think the president's appointment of Charles Pickering to a recess appointment is an ultimate hypocrisy," Dean said while campaigning in Iowa. "Yesterday he went and saluted Dr. King's birthday. Today he appoints a racist to the Supreme Court."

Dean immediately corrected himself, saying he meant to say the federal bench, not the Supreme Court.

Yet I wonder whether Gov. Dean can share with us even one incident from his own personal life in which he's ever displayed the kind of personal courage in support of civil rights that Charles Pickering has:

In 1966, Sam Bowers, the Scripture-quoting imperial wizard of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, led a gang of Klansmen to firebomb the home of Hattiesburg NAACP leader Vernon Dahmer, killing him.

Pickering, then serving as Jones County prosecutor, could have avoided the trial, as the slaying took place in a neighboring county. But Jim Dukes, the prosecutor who presented the case against Bowers, asked his colleague to testify to Bowers' violent character, and Pickering agreed — despite the risk of Klan reprisals.

"He was putting himself at risk of bodily harm, social ostracism and economic destruction," Dukes said. "These were turbulent times, and testifying against the Klan was not a popular thing to do."

Pickering lost a race for a state House seat later that year. Bowers -- whose trial ended in a hung jury and who was not convicted until 1998 -- took credit for beating him.

I defy Dean, NY Sen. Chuck "Fingered in the Eye" Schumer, or anyone else to read the article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution from which I copied this blurb, plus two related articles, and then to argue with a straight face that Charles Pickering is a racist.  (Throw this article into the mix as well.)

Of course, if you don't give a flying fig about the facts and all you want to do is oppose and thwart the President at every turn, then you're perfectly willing to distort and slander the record of a good man in the process.  These people have no shame, and Dean and Schumer in particular are race-baiting demagogues.

Posted by Beldar at 03:46 PM in Current Affairs, Law (2006 & earlier), Politics (2006 & earlier) | Permalink

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» In Defense of Pickering from The Curmudgeonly Clerk

Tracked on Jan 19, 2004 5:06:42 PM