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Democrats vote No, But say Yes

Two ultra-Fundamentalist judges were confirmed by voice vote today by all but one Democratic Senator.
November 15, 2002
Democrats Vote No, but Allow Judicial Nominee to Advance

ASHINGTON, Nov. 14 The Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee today engaged in an unusual voting maneuver that signaled their disapproval of one of President Bush's judicial nominees even as they cleared the way for his confirmation.

They first allowed the nominee, Judge Dennis Shedd, to be approved by a voice vote. Then, one by one, each of the Democrats present asked to be recorded as having voted against him.

Senate Democrats decided not to impede the nomination, and one other, in recognition that they would be approved anyway when the Republicans take over in January and to enhance their credibility when they opposed other nominees.

The Democrats' behavior meant that they are all now listed as voting against Judge Shedd, whose 12-year tenure as a federal trial judge in South Carolina has drawn criticism from civil rights groups. But they did not ask for a tally of the vote a call for the yeas and nays that would have blocked his confirmation.

Many veteran Senate staff aides and lobbyists said they could not recall a similar occurrence. The unusual behavior concerning the vote on Judge Shedd occurred as the committee met for the last time before the Democrats turn control over to the Republicans, who will hold a majority in the Senate in 2003. It took place against a backdrop of partisan tensions that were evident despite today's formal and polite remarks.

The committee also approved by voice vote the confirmation of Prof. Michael McConnell of the University of Utah to an appeals court seat in Denver. In contrast to Judge Shedd's nomination, a few Democrats asked to be recorded as having voted in favor of Professor McConnell; only Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, asked to be recorded as having voted against the nominee.

Democrats have used their slim majority on the committee to block those of Mr. Bush's appellate court nominees they have said are too conservative. Republicans who chafed at their inability to get all Mr. Bush's candidates confirmed were robust and confident today as they contemplated an abrupt change in the committee's output.

"I'm quite sure that things will change markedly," said Senator Orrin G. Hatch, the Utah Republican who will become the committee chairman early next year. "I would like things to be more civil around here," he said.

A senior Republican staff aide was more blunt, saying that all of Mr. Bush's nominees would be quickly confirmed and the Democrats could do little about it. The Shedd and McConnell nominations are expected to be approved by the full Senate.

The committee's meeting was the final one for Senator Strom Thurmond, the South Carolina Republican. Mr. Thurmond, the chamber's oldest member, will turn 100 years old in a few weeks and is retiring at the end of the term. Senator Thurmond, who has been frail for some time, seemed especially so today. He declined an opportunity to read a statement in support of Judge Shedd, who is being elevated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond.

Recently, Mr. Thurmond would read at least part of his statements before the committee but not engage in any back-and-forth with witnesses or colleagues. When Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the committee chairman, asked Mr. Thurmond today if he wanted to speak, Mr. Thurmond seemed not to react.

The Shedd nomination was, still, a tribute of sorts to Mr. Thurmond. Years before, Judge Shedd had been an aide to Mr. Thurmond, who complained bitterly just before Election Day that he was offended that Mr. Leahy had not scheduled a vote on the nomination.

Mr. Durbin said in an interview that one explanation for the strange vote was that Democrats were opposed to elevating Judge Shedd but "wanted to make an effort to give Senator Thurmond a nominee that was important to him."

When it came time to vote, Mr. Leahy took a voice vote and declared that the Republicans who all shouted "aye" had bested the Democrats' "No." Then, Democrats asked to be recorded as having voted no. Senator Joseph R. Biden of Delaware, who was absent, was the only one of the committee's 10 Democrats who was not recorded as voting. The committee has nine Republicans, and even if they had been able to muster all their votes, they would have achieved only a tie in a roll call, under which the candidate loses.

Liberal advocacy groups assailed the Democrats for their actions.

"This was inconsistent with good government and responsible leadership," said Ralph Neas of People for the American Way. "All Americans have the right to know how their senators voted and why in this case they don't have the answers because of the way it was handled."

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Leahy was in charge 15.Nov.2002 12:17


Leahy was in charge, and he is about as puke ball liberal as they get in the Senate.

I don't think these judges were as bad as you think or there would have been more whinning...


Dear FWR 15.Nov.2002 13:20

anne frank

Wanna Bet? See you in the Gulag!!(we'll have our tatoos, so I'll be able to recognize you).

gulags were a soviet invention.. 15.Nov.2002 13:57


the commies invented the gulag.

I think you mean a concentration camp, aka nazis..


Whatever-- 15.Nov.2002 14:43


I think gulag might be more appropriate. The operational style of the International Power Elite seems more akin to the Soviet-style system of oppression than the NAZI one. The absence of even any pretense of social conscience or populist philosophy runs counter to both the Soviet and NAZI systems; us commoners(the ones of us who make less than a billion a year) are assured by the cartel that we will be squashed. The "free market" isn't free of course. The International Elite's Orwellian doublespeak and overt obfuscation and encouragement of sexual perversity and spectacular violence more resembles Soviet propaganda than NAZI, though you may have a point. Please elaborate differences that you perceive--

Nazism vs. Stalinism? 15.Nov.2002 17:01

happy to live in 2002 in the USA...

Nazism vs. Stalinism?

I think most people don't' really know the difference, and I hope the never have to find out.

I think given history, Stalinism is worse, but the Jewish lobby and colleagues in Hollywood have made sure that the Nazis receive worse press than the Communists under Stalin, but Stalin is credited for having more people murdered under his rule than the Nazis, however his rein was longer.

I would fight to the death against either system!

I have traveled to Auschwitz in Poland when Spielberg was filming Shindler's List outside Krakow in 1993. It's a god awful place, much worse than Dachau outside of Munich.

I've also traveled in the former Soviet Union, which was like a living Gulag. People on this website chant and bitch about Republicans and Democrats as if they are somewhere in the same ballpark as these two horrible systems. They aren't even in the same dimension, not alone the same planet, and luckily for the people on this website, they will never find out just how wrong they really are..


Hi FWR 15.Nov.2002 22:25


We're not talking Democrats and Republicans here. We are talking about the group of International Power Elites who have highjacked our government and who are enacting draconian measures that will kill our Republic and replace it with overt and absolutely brutal Empire. Remember that Germany was also a Republic prior to Hitler's election. This transformation is happening now, and it's happening quickly. Get the blinders off, FWR, and start fighting for your life.

Hope you are right, FWR 16.Nov.2002 00:23


Unfortunately, the current situation has escalated into a feeding frenzy for the International Power Elite, and has very little to do with "Democrats" and "Republicans". We're all going down with this one, even those who make over a billion a year. Humans can't mess around with the planet like we are and get away with it. And I hope you're correct about this country not turning into a high-tech, iris-scanned, microchipped version of the Soviet Union. Yup, really hope you're on about that one.

ha, ha, ha, HA AH HA HA 16.Nov.2002 01:07


"FWR": "They aren't even in the same dimension, not alone the same planet, and luckily for the people on this website, they will never find out just how wrong they really are.."

hey, "FWR"--have you gotten your fat ass probed at the local AIRPORT lately?

ha, ha,  ha, HA AH HA HA
ha, ha, ha, HA AH HA HA

just a couple of jarheads.. big deal 16.Nov.2002 07:05


what are you so scared of?

If you traveled to Europe (ie. Germany, etc.) in the past 25 years you would see soldiers and police with automatic weapons at frankfurt main airport.

I remember someone telling me, when they saw the Polizei standing with a Uzi, "gosh that is really scary"

I had a completely different opinion about it.

I guess it depends on your background. I have dealt with weapons all the time. In marine boot camp, in order to graduate, you have to field strip an M-16 and reassemble it blindfolded in 2 minutes.

I saw the same thing she saw, and I felt safe.

I see the photo of the two Marines and I am perfectly happy with that.

Believe me, I feel a lot better with them standing watch then some stupid $5.00 an hour security guard with a doughnut sticking out of his holster, shooting him self in the foot like Fredo in the godfather...

I know these guys can hit a target, so If one of Osamma's buddies shows up at the airport, we will have a fighting chance..


Fascist Windbag Reporter 16.Nov.2002 09:14


FWR, thank you for the explaination of nazism and stalinism. I am sure your personal experience with both allows you a far superior viewpoint than anyone else on here.

I fight both with equal vigor... 16.Nov.2002 20:44

freedom fighter

I fight both...

thanks for the post..