The Pickering Putsch

The Pickering Putsch

George W.

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George W. Bush probably should have sent Mississippi’s outer space jurist Charles Pickering to Mars but instead sent him to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on a tricky “recess appointment.” This was another thumb in the eye to Senate Democrats, since Pickering had been voted down by the Senate Judiciary Committee when Democrats were in the majority and not approved by the Senate last year because of severe ethics problems and segregationist views in the 1960s. The Pickering appointment clearly circumvented the will of the Senate and mocked the Constitution’s advise and consent clause. That Bush did this during the celebration of what would have been Martin Luther King Jr.’s 75th birthday was an extra twist of the dirty thumb. Pickering will now serve for a year, and there’s nothing the Democrats can do about this parliamentary maneuver. As Ted Kennedy has often said regarding the current judicial wars, “President Bush would rather pick fights than pick judges.”

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