Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The system scares a qualified judge away. The media yawn. So do bloggers.

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Charles Pickering said in a statement last week,

The bitter fight over judicial confirmations threatens the quality and the independence of the judiciary. The mean-spiritedness and lack of civility reduces the pool of nominees willing to offer themselves for service on the bench.

The prime exhibit offered in support of Pickering's statement was Pickering himself, who announced that he would retire from the bench rather than subject himself to another Senate hearing.

Interesting that Pickering's announcement has received so little media attention.

As you may recall when Pickering was nominated for the bench, liberals launched a campaign against him based on supposed racial insensitivity. The Washington Post reviewed the case against Pickering in a May 27, 2003 front page article. Earlier the New York Times (yes, that New York Times), in a Feb. 17, 2002 article entitled "Blacks at Home Support a Judge Liberals Assail," had debunked liberals' charges against Pickering.

After Democrats blocked Pickering's nomination from coming to a vote, Bush elevated Pickering to the bench in a recess appointment widely criticized at the time by liberal media outlets and Democratic candidates alike.

Now that the recess appointment is coming to an end, Pickering is opting to retire rather than go through hearings again. The bench is losing a good man, and nobody seems to be taking notice: neither the mainstream media opinion writers nor the blogosphere.

The system has stopped a good judge from serving and will discourage others. Bloggers and other readers, where is the outrage? Taranto? Reynolds?

Update: Here is the text of Pickering's statement.