Nominees deserve a timely up-or-down vote, since the Constitution provides for confirmation by a simple majority, not a super majority.
July 26, 2007
The Judicial Confirmation Network
P.O. Box 791
Alexandria, Virginia 22313
The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy
The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
The Honorable Benjamin L. Cardin
The Honorable John Cornyn
The Honorable Russell D. Feingold
The Honorable Lindsey Graham
The Honorable Orrin G. Hatch
The Honorable Herb Kohl
The Honorable Charles E. Schumer
The Honorable Sheldon Whitehouse
The Honorable Arlen Specter
The Honorable Sam Brownback
The Honorable Tom Coburn
The Honorable Richard J. Durbin
The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
The Honorable Charles E. Grassley
The Honorable Edward M. Kennedy
The Honorable Jon Kyl
The Honorable Jeff Sessions
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee:
We write on behalf of our more than 70 member organizations, representing some 2 million members, friends, and supporters nationwide who have diverse interests yet all share a commitment to: (1) a fair Senate process for judicial nominees, and (2) Senate confirmation of judges and Justices of outstanding qualifications who respect democracy and self-government and demonstrate judicial restraint and faithfulness to the Constitution.
Judge Leslie Southwick, President Bush's nominee to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, is such a judge of outstanding personal and professional qualifications. Judge Southwick is an American patriot who has voluntarily served our nation honorably in Iraq. He is by all accounts an outstanding legal mind and is highly respected in the profession, having been rated unanimously "well-qualified" by the American Bar Association judicial evaluations committee. He has served with distinction on the Mississippi bench for 11 years.
Judge Southwick appeared poised in May to be approved by the Judiciary Committee and sent to the Senate floor for a vote, when liberal extremist groups decided to strongarm some of you into killing his nomination in the committee. This tactic cannot be tolerated. It is based on entirely trumped up charges relating to two opinions out of a body of more than 7000 judicial opinions with which he is associated.
The first baseless charge involves Judge Southwick's joining an en banc majority opinion affirming an administrative law ruling that the use by a state employee of a racial slur did not justify her firing. It did not in any way sanction the use of racial slurs, it simply applied pertinent employment law and standards of review as a court is bound to do, and it was upheld by the Supreme Court of Mississippi. The second baseless charge involves Judge Southwick's joining an opinion that simply applied binding Mississippi legal precedent that it was proper for a lower court to consider a mother's lesbianism when awarding child custody. The liberal groups find it "troubling" that Judge Southwick joined an opinion that referred to "homosexual lifestyle" and "lesbian lifestyle," even though President Clinton and Justice Ginsburg, among others, have used exactly the same terms and come under no criticism for it.
This smear campaign against Judge Southwick is, as Senator Cochran has said, completely unfounded, contrived, and unfair. If you cave in to the outrageous demands of liberal extremist groups, this will be correctly perceived as a form of bigotry and unfairness in itself, at the expense of a good and decent man and a public servant who has over three decades earned the respect of Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives alike. We call upon you to resist the liberal smear campaign and vote on the merits for confirmation of this outstanding judge and American serviceman.
Very truly yours,
Gary Marx, Executive Director
Wendy E. Long, General Counsel
The Judicial Confirmation Network
You can contact each of the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee at: www.senate.gov.
Please tell them that in order to administer justice in the courts, we need judges. Advise them that delays by the committee has made it impossible for the Senate to fulfill its constitutional duty of advice and consent in good faith and within a reasonable time after a nomination is made. Tell them that it's time for the Senate Judiciary Committee to set aside partisan politics and begin serving the public! Nominees deserve a timely up-or-down vote, since the Constitution provides for confirmation by a simple majority, not a super majority.
Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.
Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.
The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.
Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.