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Anti-Gay Judges On Shortlist To Replace Miers


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Anti-Gay Judges On Shortlist To Replace Miers

by Doreen Brandt 365Gay.com Washington Bureau

Posted: October 27, 2005 1:00 pm ET

(Washington) The guessing game has begun into who President Bush will nominate to replace Harriet Miers after she withdrew her Supreme Court nomination on Thursday.

The White House is remaining tight lipped, but the Associated Press has released a list of names it believes is on Bush's shortlist.

Following Miers' announcement she with withdrawing her nomination LGBT civil rights groups called for a replacement nomination that was more balanced. (story) Nevertheless, the AP list includes at least four names of people with records opposing LGBT civil rights.

Janice Rogers Brown, 56, was confirmed in June to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit after a bitter Senate battle and filibuster. (story)

Brown is an outspoken black Christian conservative who previously sat on the California Supreme Court. In 2003, she was the only justice on that court to rule against recognizing the right of gay Californians to legally adopt their children. Brown argued that allowing a gay parent to legally adopt the biological child of their partner "trivializes family bonds."

She also supports limits on abortion rights and corporate liability.

Priscilla Owen, 50, was confirmed in May for a seat on the 5th Circuit after a drawn-out Senate battle.

Democrats argued that Owen let her political beliefs color her rulings. She has a long record of anti-gay rulings.

Alberto Gonzales, 50, is the U.S. Attorney General and former White House counsel.

During his confirmation hearings for attorney general the American Civil Liberties Union said that Gonzales' White House office undertook the legal thinking behind Bush's decision to support the Federal Marriage Amendment to ban same-sex marriage and that he helped formulate the legal framework for it and for the president’s "faith-based initiative" which would allow faith groups to circumvent local laws which prevent discrimination against gay and lesbian workers. (story)

Critics also contend a memo he wrote on treatment of terrorism detainees helped lead to abuses like those seen at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Conservatives have urged Bush not to nominate him.

Harvie Wilkinson, 60, currently sits on the 4th Circuit. He has been consistently conservative in his rulings since being put on the court by then-president Ronald Reagan in 1984. Wilkinson wrote the majority 4th Circuit opinion in 1996 upholding the ``don't ask, don't tell'' policy that barred gays serving in the military from revealing their sexual orientation.

Nearly a dozen other conservative names are also on the list.

Samuel Alito, 55, has been a strong conservative voice in his 15 years on the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He has been dubbed ``Scalito'' or ``Scalia-lite'' by some lawyers because his judicial philosophy invites comparisons to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Alice Batchelder, 61, is on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. She has been a reliable conservative vote on abortion, affirmative action and gun control. Bush's father appointed the former high school English teacher to the court with jurisdiction over Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Edith Brown Clement, 57, has been on the 5th Circuit since 2001. Clement is known as a no-nonsense judge with a reputation for being tough on crime and meting out stiff sentences. Her 99-0 Senate confirmation vote to the circuit court in November 2001 suggests she has broad appeal. She was touted as a top possibility for the vacancy to which Roberts was nominated.

Maura Corrigan, 57. The Michigan Supreme Court justice is a walking billboard for the conservative mantra of judicial restraint - the notion that judges should stick to interpreting the law and not making it. Her resume includes a number of firsts, among them: first woman to serve as chief assistant U.S. attorney in Detroit, first woman to serve as chief judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Miguel Estrada, 44, a conservative Hispanic lawyer, was nominated by Bush to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit during his first term, but the nomination was thwarted by Senate Democrats who said Estrada lacked the judicial experience to serve and didn't make clear his views on abortion.

Emilio Garza, 58, sits on the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and was considered for a Supreme Court seat by the current president's father, George H.W. Bush. He has become best known for his views that Roe vs. Wade should be overturned and that abortion regulation should be decided by state legislatures.

Edith Hollan Jones, 55, has served on the 5th Circuit since 1985. The first president Bush considered Jones for a vacancy on the Supreme Court in 1990, but nominated David Souter.

Michael Luttig, 51, worked in the Justice Department during the administration of the first president Bush and has served on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va. He was a law clerk to the late Chief Justice Warren Burger from 1983-84.

Maureen Mahoney, 50, has often been described as the female version of Chief Justice John Roberts. Mahoney, a lawyer in private practice, clerked for the late Justice William Rehnquist, served as deputy solicitor general under Kenneth Starr and has argued cases before the Supreme Court. Mahoney might upset conservatives with one of her major court wins, the landmark University of Michigan Law School case defending affirmative action.

Michael McConnell, 50, is a judge on the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He enjoys bipartisan support in the academic community. Based on his reading of the law, he opposed former president Bill Clinton's impeachment and the Supreme Court's 2000 ruling in Bush vs. Gore that made George W. Bush president.

Theodore Olson, 64, was solicitor general, the president's top Supreme Court lawyer. He argued the Supreme Court case that gave Bush the victory in the 2000 presidential election. His wife, Barbara, a conservative commentator, was killed when terrorists crashed a jet into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

Larry Thompson, 59, was deputy attorney general during Bush's first term, making Thompson the federal government's highest-ranking black law enforcement official. Thompson is a longtime friend of Clarence Thomas who sat next to Thomas more than a decade ago during contentious Senate hearings on Thomas' nomination to the Supreme Court.

Karen Williams, 54, is a former trial lawyer. Williams is known as one of the most conservative judges on the most conservative federal appeals court in the United States, the Richmond-based 4th Circuit. In 1999, Williams wrote the 4th Circuit opinion that would have paved the way for overturning the landmark 1966 decision in Miranda that outlines the rights read to criminal suspects. The Supreme Court voted 7-2 to let it stand.

©365Gay.com 2005

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