Gordon Smith Hammered on Southwick Confirmation

Senator Gordon Smith is already taking heat for his vote earlier today to confirm judicial nominee Leslie Southwick to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. StopGordonSmith.com detailed Southwick's history as a judge:

Unlike Ron Wyden, Gordon Smith voted today for extremist judicial nominee Leslie Southwick.

Here is the kind of judge Smith thinks represents Oregon values:

As a judge on the Mississippi Court of Appeals for over ten years, Judge Southwick amassed a record that favored business and insurance interests, at the expense of workers, consumers and other victims. In fact, he voted for those interests 89 percent of the time in 180 published split-decision torts and state employment law cases. Moreover, his decisions involving racism in the workplace, the qualifications of gays and lesbians to be parents, women’s property rights following the dissolution of a marriage or relationship, and allegations of racial bias in jury selection, raise questions about his commitment to equal dignity and equal justice.

The site also listed some of Southwick's most notable and worst decisions:

In another case, he agreed that an eight-year-old girl could be taken away from her birth mother, in large part because the mother was living with another woman in a 'lesbian home.' He also joined in the opinion that sexual orientation is a 'choice,' and that one legally acceptable consequence of that 'choice' is losing one's child.

In a third case, he argued that a worker made sick by on-the-job exposure to toxic chemicals could not sue her employer because the three-year statute of limitations had run out...even though the worker had not learned that her illness was job-related until ten years after the onset of her symptoms.

When pressed by Senator Durbin during recent hearings to name just one example of an unpopular decision he made in favor of the powerless, the poor, minorities or the dispossessed, Judge Southwick responded, "no.'"

Meanwhile, on his campaign site, Jeff Merkley also criticized Smith's vote:

“It isn’t surprising that Gordon Smith gave the thumbs-up to another one of Bush’s judicial nominees,” Merkley said. “Southwick has built his judicial career on denying justice to workers and minorities. When the President packs the bench with judges like Southwick, he pits the government against the very people it should be serving.”

Southwick’s decisions include one reinstating a white employee who was fired for using a vulgar racial epithet in reference to a black co-worker. At his Senate hearing he readily defended the decision, saying he failed to see any evidence that usage of that word was “so serious that every workplace is permanently damaged.” Southwick also joined a court opinion which found that a mother’s sexual orientation alone was grounds for denying her custody of her children.

“Leslie Southwick has no business deciding cases on the federal bench,” Merkley said. “It is very troubling that Gordon Smith voted to promote a judge who sees no serious problem with racial slurs against employees and who puts his narrow-minded values ahead of providing a nurturing home for children.”

“Senator Wyden did the right thing, rejecting Southwick’s nomination, but as usual, Gordon Smith cancelled out his vote,” Merkley said. “Oregon needs two Senators who will move America forward, but Gordon Smith is doing everything he can to take us backward.”

Read the rest at StopGordonSmith.com and Jeff Merkley's site. Discuss.

  • Adam HD34 (unverified)

    Always a good idea to give Gordon Smith's office a call and complain. As well as an email about how upset you are. His office put me on hold earlier today before they could take my comment. Glad to hear they were swamped. Always a good time to call, if you won't want to chat you could just leave a message after hours:

    DC Office: 202.224.3753 Portland Office: 503.326.3386 Bend Office: 541.318.1298

    Many people just save the numbers in their Cell phones. Always a good idea to give Gordon Smith a piece of your mind about something he voted the wrong way on yet again.

    The Southwick confirmation is just another long line of offenses against the state's blue roots.

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    Unfortunately more than a few Democrats also voted to confirm this asshole:

    Akaka (D-HI) Byrd (D-WV) Carper (D-DE) Conrad (D-ND) Dorgan (D-ND) Feinstein (D-CA) Inouye (D-HI) Johnson (D-SD) Lincoln (D-AR) Nelson (D-NE) Pryor (D-AR) Salazar (D-CO)

    as well as the party of one...

    Lieberman (ID-CT)

    A few of those I can see since they are in deep crimson states like Nebraska, but Feinstein in California... WTF?

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    Sadly I'm not surprised by Feinstein's vote. She seems to be a (pardon the pun) "coming out of a deep closet" of administration-supporting these days on alot of issues.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    Sadly I'm not surprised by Feinstein's vote.

    Feinstein, like Smith, is often influenced in her votes by the social and economic class of people involved, an attitude that commonly trumps reason and a sense of justice. When they stand in a pious posture before the flag with their right hands over their hearts and mumble the last phrase of the Pledge of Allegiance, "liberty and justice for all" is a meaningless statement.

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    Smith has all the cover he needs on this because of those 12/13 Democrats.

    On the bright side, Merkley's comments were strong and substantive.

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    Smith has all the cover he needs on this because of those 12/13 Democrats.

    Only if he's planning to run for the U.S. Senate in one of those states.

    I'm not willing to concede an inch to the guy. So what if Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman, Tim Johnson, and a bunch of other D's voted the wrong way. That doesn't excuse Smith. Not for a minute.

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    He also joined in the opinion that sexual orientation is a 'choice,' and that one legally acceptable consequence of that 'choice' is losing one's child.

    Wow. Talk about "judicial activism" and "legislation from the bench." Of course the right-wingers who always complain about that sort of thing won't apply the same standard to this judicial fiat. It's pathetic that Feinstein voted for someone like this.

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    Unfortunate that Sen. Johnson voted that way. I had more faith in him than that.

    And it's looking like I'm going to have to affix Sen. Smith's office to my speed dial.

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    If you're disappointed, call Human Rights Campaign, who helped get Gordon Smith re-elected.

    <h2>I tell every HRC canvasser who asks for my money that I don't support groups that support Gordon Smith. Most don't know what the heck I'm talking about.</h2>
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