Iraq War Vet “Spit On” by Democrat Senators
Senators call judicial nominee who risked his life to free Iraqis “racist”
Washington, D.C. – Senate Democrats are blocking the nomination of Judge Leslie Southwick for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Rated “unanimously well-qualified” by the American Bar Association, Judge Southwick sought an age waiver to serve in Iraq, requesting to be sent to the most dangerous area. Yet liberal groups have smeared Judge Southwick with unfounded accusations, and a few Democrat senators are repeating them.
“Judge Southwick is a brave, considerate, intelligent American hero — just the type of person that we need on the federal bench,” stated Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America. “Yet liberal special interest groups have unfairly smeared a good man — a war veteran — for doing his constitutional duty of upholding the law and serving in the war.
“Some Democrat senators have followed their lead, in effect spitting on the reputation of this honorable judge and Iraq war veteran. Is this what other Iraq War veterans will face when they return home? Will their sacrifice, courage and honor be besmirched by people who put their interests above the welfare of our country?”
Despite nearly 7,000 cases Judge Southwick ruled on during 12 years on the Mississippi Court of Appeals, his critics found only two opinions to criticize.
One involved a state employee’s one-time use of the “n-word.” The court denounced the use of the word, however, recognizing the limits of the law, ruled that the state cannot apply an “arbitrary, across-the-board rule” in determining how to discipline that employee.
Judge Southwick’s deeds speak louder than the slurs against him. LaVerne Ednae, an African-American attorney in a prominent Mississippi law firm, stated that Judge Southwick gave her an opportunity as a law clerk when few would. She said, “He saw that I was qualified for the position and granted me the opportunity. … It did not matter the party’s affiliation, culture or stature. What mattered is what the law said, and Judge Southwick worked very hard to apply it fairly. I have no doubt that he is fair, impartial and has all of the other qualities necessary to be an excellent addition to the Fifth Circuit.”
Southwick’s detractors also complain of the court’s use of the term “homosexual lifestyle.” Yet Bill Clinton used “homosexual lifestyle” while announcing his “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg concurred with the majority decision in Lawrence v. Texas which addressed the “homosexual lifestyle.”
Judge Southwick clerked for the Presiding Judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and then for Judge Charles Clark of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. He was an associate in a Jackson law firm from 1977 to 1983 and a partner from 1983 to 1989. From 1985-86, he was a member of the Governor's Constitution Study Commission.
Judge Southwick became a Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice (Civil Division) in 1989. In 1994, Judge Southwick was elected one of the first ten judges on the Court of Appeals. He has remained on the court except for a military leave of absence from August 2004 to January 2006. In 2005, he served as the Deputy, and then as the Staff Judge Advocate, for the 155th Brigade Combat team in Iraq.
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