Sunday, August 26, 2007

SourceWatch Lists Us In Group We Didn't Join

We see on SourceWatch, an imaginative "wiki" style website sponsored by the leftish Center for Media & Democracy, that Americans for the Preservation of Liberty is a member of the Cooler Heads Coalition, a network of organizations organized by the non-profit group Consumer Alert in 1997 to examine the impact of proposed global warming regulations on consumers.

Without any disrepect intended toward the fine work of the Cooler Heads Coalition, we were surprised to see that SourceWatch reports APL as a member of Cooler Heads, as, as far as we know, Consumer Alert closed about the time Americans for the Preservation of Liberty was founded.

60 Groups Demand Statesmanship from Senate

Americans for the Preservation of Liberty has joined 59 other groups in demanding that the U.S. Senate take more seriously its responsibility to evaluate and confirm judges to the federal judiciary:
July 25, 2007

The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy
The Honorable Arlen Specter
The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
The Honorable Sam Brownback
The Honorable Benjamin L. Cardin
The Honorable Tom Coburn
The Honorable John Cornyn
The Honorable Richard J. Durbin
The Honorable Russell D. Feingold
The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
The Honorable Lindsey Graham
The Honorable Charles E. Grassley
The Honorable Orrin G. Hatch
The Honorable Edward M. Kennedy
The Honorable Herb Kohl
The Honorable Jon Kyl
The Honorable Charles E. Schumer
The Honorable Jeff Sessions
The Honorable Sheldon Whitehouse

United States Senate
U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC

Dear Senators,

We and the organizations we represent are deeply concerned about the Senate Judiciary Committee’s lack of progress in reporting judicial nominees out of committee. This is particularly pronounced for U.S. Courts of Appeal nominees, and has made it impossible for the Senate to fulfill its constitutional duty of advice and consent in good faith. The broken promises and personal attacks on nominees that have accompanied this inaction – as well as the unfairness of denying qualified nominees a fair up-or-down vote by the full Senate – only add to the public perception that your committee is not living up to its responsibilities.

That approval ratings for the 110th Congress are among the lowest in history is a testament to the American people’s concern that their elected representatives are more interested in partisan politics and politically driven investigations than in making progress on the issues citizens really care about. The American people want you to do your job, and among the most important responsibilities of the Judiciary Committee are processing and voting on the President’s judicial nominees. We respectfully request that you take this responsibility seriously, including putting statesmanship above politics and special interests.

More than six months into this Congress, the Judiciary Committee has held hearings for only four appeals court nominees, and has voted on only three such nominees. At that pace, the Senate will fall far short of the historical average of 17 circuit court confirmations during a president’s last two years in office. That average was maintained during the Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton presidencies, despite the fact that the opposition party controlled the Senate. The American people expect no less from this Senate and do not want the Judiciary Committee to stand in the way. Fortunately, the historical average can be achieved if you and your colleagues are willing to eschew partisan politics in favor of fairness and fulfilling your constitutional duty.

Instead, five appeals court nominees – three of them waiting to fill vacancies declared “judicial emergencies” – and 14 district court nominees are languishing in the Judiciary Committee. Four additional appeals court nominations have just been announced. Several nominees have been waiting for more than a year for the committee to do its job. In some cases, the nominees are being subjected to obstruction borne of partisan politics. In other cases, the Judiciary Committee has fallen behind because it insists on holding hearings for judicial nominees just once a month.

Among those appeals court nominees being blocked in the Judiciary Committee is Judge Leslie Southwick, an Iraq War veteran rated “unanimously well-qualified” by the American Bar Association. Unfortunately, Judge Southwick has been the target of an ugly campaign of character assassination by liberal special interest groups. It is very telling that, despite sifting through nearly 7000 cases Southwick voted on during 12 years on the Mississippi Court of Appeals, his critics are basing their opposition on two opinions he didn’t write.

If the nomination of Leslie Southwick is allowed to die in committee, it will be a loss to both the federal bench and the reputation of the Judiciary Committee. The American people will ask why you put the demands of special interest groups above the fair treatment of a man who interrupted a highly successful career to serve his country in Iraq.

The impact of the judges issue on Senate campaigns in 2002 and 2004 demonstrated that the public is watching. Americans want to see progress rather than hear explanations for why you were unable to rise above politics. They do not want to hear that inaction in the Judiciary Committee is the White House’s fault for failing to name nominees for some of the vacancies. In fact, calls for the White House to speed up the pace of nominations are undercut when you allow those already nominated to languish in the Judiciary Committee.

The American people are equally unsympathetic to the claim that certain nominees cannot get a hearing because of the Judiciary Committee’s arcane “blue slip” policy. That policy is rightfully perceived as serving senators rather than the public. Because the policy exists entirely at the discretion of the committee chairman, blame for the resulting delays cannot credibly be laid outside the committee.

President Bush fulfilled his constitutional duty by nominating the outstanding men and women who await action in the Judiciary Committee. We respectfully request that you allow the Senate to fulfill its constitutional duty of advice and consent, by ensuring that each and every judicial nominee is given a hearing and is reported out of committee for consideration by the full Senate in a timely manner. If you cannot support a particular nominee, vote him or her out of committee without a positive recommendation, or vote against confirmation. But please do not deny the nominee a fair up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. In other words, we ask only that you do your job by putting statesmanship above politics and special interests.


Curt Levey
Executive Director
Committee for Justice

Jim Martin
60 Plus Association

Diane Gramley
American Family Association of Pennsylvania

Jim Backlin
Vice President for Legislative Affairs
Christian Coalition of America

Paul M. Weyrich
National Chairman
Coalitions for America

Kay R. Daly
Coalition for a Fair Judiciary

Wendy Wright
Concerned Women for America

Richard A. Viguerie

Phyllis Schlafly
President and Founder
Eagle Forum

Tony Perkins
Tom McClusky
Vice President of Government Affairs
Family Research Council

Brian Burch

Tom Minnery
Senior Vice President of Government and Public Policy
Focus on the Family

Mary E. Bliss
Director of Special Projects
Illinois Citizens for Life

James Bopp Jr.
General Counsel
James Madison Center for Free Speech

Wendy E. Long
General Counsel
Gary Marx
Executive Director
Judicial Confirmation Network

Tom Fitton
Judicial Watch

Kristian M. Mineau
Massachusetts Family Institute

Douglas Reaume
Owner and Director
Michigan Catholic Radio

Father Frank Pavone
National Director
Priests for Life

Mychal Massie
Project 21

Randy Brinson
Redeem the Vote

Cathy Herron
South Carolina
Andrea Lafferty
Executive Director
Traditional Values Coalition

Dr. Carl Herbster

Gary J. Palmer
Alabama Policy Institute

Susan A. Carleson
Chairman & CEO
American Civil Rights Union

Dr. Don Wildmon
Founder & Chairman
American Family Association

Micah Clark
Executive Director
American Family Association of Indiana

Gary Glenn
American Family Association of Michigan

Mark Chmura
Executive Director
Americans for the Preservation of Liberty

Jeffrey Mazzella
Center for Individual Freedom

Michael S. Heath
Executive Director
Christian Civic League of Maine

Samuel B. Casey
Executive Director & CEO
Christian Legal Society

Phil Burress
Citizens for Community Values

Robert R. Galbreath
Citizens for a Constitutional Republic

Tom Shields
Coalition for Marriage and Family

Karen Testerman
Executive Director
Cornerstone Policy Research

Alan Chambers
Exodus International

Kent Ostrander
Executive Director
Family Foundation of Kentucky

Maurine Proctor
Family Leader Network

John Stemberger
President and General Counsel
Florida Family Policy Council

Kelly Shackelford
Free Market Foundation

Christine Carmouche

Bryan Fischer
Executive Director
Idaho Values Alliance

Ron Shuping
Executive Vice President of Programming
Inspiration Networks

Anita Staver
Liberty Counsel

Hiram Sasser
Director of Litigation
Liberty Legal Institute

Mathew D. Staver
Dean and Professor of Law
Liberty University School of Law

Dr. Patricia McEwen
Life Coalition International

Forest Thigpen
Mississippi Center for Public Policy

Deal W. Hudson
Morley Institute

Amy Ridenour
National Center for Public Policy Research

Steven W. Fitschen
National Legal Foundation

Richard J. Howell
Natural Rights and Laws Compact

Pastor Russell Johnson
Ohio Restoration Project

Carmen Pate
Point of View radio talk show

Dr. William Greene

Dr. Rick Scarborough
Vision America Action

Victor Williams
Assistant Professor of Law (Catholic University of America)
Washington, DC