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The bigot that Bush wants on the bench

By Eric Ruder | March 15, 2002 | Page 2

WHAT WOULD you call a judge who sought a lighter sentence for someone convicted of burning a cross on the lawn of an interracial couple? Wait--don't answer yet.

You should also know that, earlier in his career, this same man pledged his commitment to the "Southern way of life," tried to block desegregation efforts, and wrote a student article describing how Mississippi could strengthen its ban on interracial marriages.

You might call Mississippi Federal Judge Charles Pickering a racist. But George W. Bush calls him "a good, good, honorable citizen." Bush nominated Pickering for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

No wonder the White House likes this bigot. Pickering--who once said that the principle of "one person, one vote" is "obtrusive"--is a well-rounded right-winger. In addition to defending racists, he led a fight in 1976 to get the Republican National Convention to adopt an anti-abortion platform and to condemn the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, the leading Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is expected to reject Pickering's nomination, dared to compare Democratic criticisms of Pickering to a "lynching." But it's Pickering, not his critics, who knows something about lynching.

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