Can we talk!!

Do you like to talk about politics or current events? The web is great, posting is okay, but sometimes don't you want a real time response? If you do, come talk to us on the IRC channel #news_garden. Connect to Undernet IRC, type /join #news_garden, hit enter and there we'll be.

If you aren't familiar with IRC (Internet Relay Chat) the best way to get to it is to download mIRC at (It's shareware which means you can try it until you decide you want to buy it.)

Download mIRC and install. (It installs in a snap.) Then fire it up while you're connected to the internet. In the mIRC menu go to File > Options and you'll get a dialogue box. The first heading is Connect. There you'll find a scrolling menu with LOTS of different IRC servers. Scroll down toward the bottom and choose one of the Undernet servers. I find those in Scandinavia work best. Then hit "Connect to IRC Server" and in a minute you'll be there. Then type /join #news_garden and all your political chat dreams will be come true! The first time shouldn't take but about 10 minutes total. After that less than a minute.

Come see us. We chat mostly about politics and current events and our chatters represent all points of view.

We even have a pretty nice website here at


Note: Anyone who wishes to become a columnist
or submit a column or a response to a column
please contact Alllie.

Bush Is Packing The Federal Courts:
What Can I Do?

By TaleWgnDg
Early-Summer 2003


Hi ircers and other folks,

Feel free to disseminate this stuff anywhere and everywhere (just delete my email addy, thanks). I say this because I want as many folks as possible to read this and act. It may appear that I got carried away in the length of this mailing ... but, geesh, I thought it best to have almost all of it spill out as the saying goes so that all could get angry, get involved and get active ... grab a cup of coffee and here goes: (as visited June 14, 2003) (as visited June 14, 2003) (as visited June 14, 2003)

Federal Judicial Appointment Process ... what is it?
"advice and consent" AND "recess of the senate"

U.S. Constitution, Article 2, Section 2, Clauses 2 and 3 "advice and consent" "recess of the senate"

[The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

[ TaleWgnDg: Article 2, Section 2 ... in short:
clause 2: (advice and consent judicial appointments) a sitting President nominates a person to the federal bench and the Senate okays or tosses out the nominee; or
clause 3: (recess judicial appointments) a sitting President directly appoints a person to the federal bench during a Senate recess and that person stays there as an active judge/justice until either the Senate okays or tosses through "advice and consent." ]

and ...

TaleWgnDg's musings embellished from ...
People for the American Way (as visited June 15, 2003)

The Supreme Court and the Federal Judiciary ... "states rights" v. federal law ... impact ...

Despite protestations by some unsophisticated rightwinger voters who do not understand history, politics and its impact upon the law, "states rights" is a cry to turn the legal clock back to the days (late 1800s, early 1900s, and there's indication of much earlier dates) when federal congress would enact laws that the U.S. Supreme Court "knee-jerked" overturned. At that time, the U.S. Supreme Court opined that congress had no constitutional authority to enact laws prohibiting or telling the states how it could treat its residents and citizens. Think about that for a moment. For example, our federal congress was unable to have federal child labor laws that stuck and become effective universally throughout the country. Each state had different laws or no relevant laws. It was a patchwork of state abuse and state inaction, since states could not effectually enact laws to prohibit corporations from harmful behavior against its workers. This is "states rights."

The U.S. Supreme Court's legal philosophy was stuck in the mud fossilizing until the affects of the Industrial Revolution and The Great Depression hit the nation. The Court then began to acknowledge our evolving society's impact upon America's workers and children and women. It wasn't until well within the 20th Century that the U.S. Supreme Court's majority looked anew at federal child labor laws and upheld those laws, federal minimum wage laws and upheld those laws, federal 40-hour work week laws and upheld those laws, federal work safety laws and upheld those laws, federal workmen's compensation laws and upheld those laws, federal securities laws and upheld those laws, federal food safety laws and upheld those laws, and many other federal laws at that time. And, on into modern times the U.S. Supreme Court's majority would uphold federal environmental laws and a strong federal base of other modern laws. All of these federal laws form a uniform nation of one, not a divided patchwork quilt of hit and miss "states rights."

The Bush administration and Senate Republicans are moving to return the nation to the "states rights" era by remaking the federal judiciary and overturning decades of U.S. Supreme Court precedents. Bush is "packing the courts" with ideologues. Bush has pledged to nominate justices and judges in the mold of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. These justices have helped lead a narrow 5-4 Court majority that has already used "states rights" rulings to seriously weaken federal civil rights and other protections by, for example, ruling that Congress cannot authorize disabled Americans to sue state governments for damages for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. But even the current Court's majority has not gone as far as Scalia and Thomas have pushed them to go. If Bush makes good on his promise to fill future vacancies with justices who share Scalia and Thomas's [reactionary] judicial philosophy, more than 100 key U.S. Supreme Court precedents could be overturned, not only in the crucial area of civil rights, but also concerning the environment, reproductive choice, workers' rights, religious liberty, access to justice, and many other areas.

We have not seen a vacancy at the U.S. Supreme Court in more than 8 years, the longest interval between vacancies since 1823. This makes one or more Court vacancies and nominations in the next several years all the more likely, with crucial swing vote Justice Sandra Day O'Connor widely expected to step down within the next two years. Filling such vacancies with justices like Scalia and Thomas would damage civil rights protections and enshrine in law the philosophy of people like U.S. Senator Trent Lott (Republican, Mississippi) who have consistently opposed key civil rights principles.

and ...

National Organization of Women (N.O.W.) (as visited June 13, 2003)

COURTS: Federal Circuits:

"If all of Bush's current nominees are confirmed, conservative judges will control 11 of the circuits. By 2004, all 13 could have Republican majorities. "

1st Circuit: Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island

2nd Circuit: New York, Connecticut, Vermont

3rd Circuit: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Virgin Islands

4th Circuit: Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia

5th Circuit: Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi

6th Circuit: Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee

7th Circuit: Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin

8th Circuit: North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas

9th Circuit: California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Alaska

10th Circuit: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming

11th Circuit: Alabama, Georgia, Florida

Federal Circuit: United States

DC Circuit: District of Columbia, US Tax Court

last updated 1/25/02

and ...

TalkLeft: The Power of the Left (as visited June 13, 2003)

Remember that federal judges serve for life. Every rightwing judge that Bush appoints is likely to stay on the bench for 20 to 30 years. What will happen to our constitutional liberties? Will they be there for your children? If you're concerned about this, bookmark People for the American Way and the American Civil Liberties Union. Read their reports on the nominees and write or fax (rather than e-mail) your Senators when hearings come up. Let them know you oppose any Bush nominees you find to be extremist and likely to be a judicial activist. And vote Bush out of office in 2004 -- no matter which Democrat runs against him. Please help preserve the independence and integrity of the judiciary for our children.

*TalkLeft was developed by Denver-based criminal defense attorney Jeralyn Merritt as a companion site to CrimeLynx®, the Internet's premier criminal law resource.

*Colorado Supreme Court, attorney status page: (as visited June 13, 2003)

MERRITT, JERALYN ELISE status: [active] license # 5288 (6/13/03 inquiry)
950 17TH STREET, STE 1700
Denver, CO 80202
Phone (303) 837-1837
FAX (303) 832-7822
Admission: 05/10/1974
Last Status Update: 12/08/1981

There is no public disciplinary history on file for this attorney within the state of Colorado.

[TaleWgnDg: as an added note, think how long these judges' and justices' bad law decisions will remain as law across the land? think of the lifespan of the sitting judge and justice ... 20? 30? years on the bench? its a lifetime appointment, hence it depends how old was the judge and justice when placed on the bench? plus the additional time his or her bad law decisions take to over-turn ... another 30? 40? 50? years? REMEMBER, WHEN YOU VOTE FOR PRESIDENT, YOU ALSO VOTE FOR THE U.S. SUPREME COURT AND THE LAW OF AMERICA !]

and ...
(as visited June 13, 2003)

Sunday, June 8, 2003 (a reprint from the NYTimes)

Liberals, conservatives prepare for battle over Supreme Court nominations
By ROBIN TONER and NEIL A. LEWIS The New York Times

The three oldest judges are Republicans. White House officials say two of them -- Chief Justice William Rehnquist, 78, and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, 73 -- would be the most likely to retire, given the knowledge that a Republican president would pick their replacements. The oldest is Justice John Paul Stevens, 83.

or the opposite retirement opinion about Rehnquist by Alliance For Justice ...

"Chief Justice Shows No Sign of Leaving Soon" ... at ... (as visited June 19, 2003)

[Chief Justice William H. Renhquist is a "states rights" "conservative" "reactionary." Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is a "moderate" "almost conservative-to-reactionary" and can be a "states rights" vote but also can be a "swing vote" between the heavily divided court in certain matters. Associate Justice John Paul Stevens is a well-reasoned "moderate-to-not-quite-liberal."]

and ...

"Vacancies in the Federal Judiciary as of June 12, 2003" ... (as visited June 15, 2003)

and ...

here (below) is a press release from the National Organization of Women (N.O.W.) regarding the two Michigan college Affirmation Action cases decided on June 23, 2003 by the United States Supreme Court; N.O.W. is using these two cases to demonstrate that one justice -- one Bush appointed justice --could throw the court back for years and years ... (visited on June 23, 2003)

"NOW Press Office
202-628-8669 Rebecca Farmer, x 116
202-785-8576 (fax)

Supreme Court Recognizes Benefits of Diversity In Split Decision Favoring Affirmative Action

June 23, 2003

Statement of NOW President Kim Gandy

Forty years ago this month, George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door, blocking African-American students from entering the University of Alabama. George W. Bush made his stand this year at the University of Michigan, in asking the Supreme Court to abolish all affirmative action for racial minorities, but five justices said he was wrong. Their decision will continue ensuring access to higher education for women and people of color as long as these justices remain on the Court.

Widespread racial and gender inequality still exist in virtually every aspect of our society, and higher education is no exception. The University of Michigan policies have created opportunities, helped to overcome past discrimination, and opened avenues for learning and cultural exchange that benefit students of all races. At issue in Gratz v. Bollinger * and Grutter v. Bollinger ** were affirmative action policies at the University of Michigan and the University of Michigan Law School, respectively, each of which considered race as one of many factors in determining admission. The "point system" in Gratz was rejected, but the Grutter decision upheld the law school's effort to ensure a critical mass of racial minorities.

The narrow margin in the Grutter case underscores the importance of protecting the Supreme Court--and the entire federal judiciary--from Bush's attempt to stack the courts for decades with lifetime appointments of religious and political extremists. The 5 to 4 split in Grutter is a brutal reminder of the Court's delicate balance and what is at stake with the next resignation from the Court. If such a vacancy is filled by a justice in the mold of ultraconservative Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, civil rights and women's rights would be set back for decades. NOW's Save the Court mobilization will press Senators to confirm justices who will uphold civil rights laws rather than using the Court to advance conservative social policy."

* undergrad AffirmativeAction: GRATZ V. BOLLINGER, __ U.S. __ (#02-516, June 23, 2003), reversed in part and remanded ... syllabus, opinions, dissents (last visited June 23, 2003)

** law school AffirmativeAction: GRUTTER V. BOLLINGER, __ U.S. __ (#02-241, June 23, 2003), 288 F.3d 732, affirmed ... syllabus, opinions, dissents (last visited June 23, 2003) and

and ...

Alliance for Justice is a national coalition of public-interest organizations.
11 Dupont Circle, NW, 2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20036
telephone: 202.822.6070
FAX: 202.822.6068

This site seems to have a comprehensive list of federal judiciary nominees complete w/ commentary.

Their website is a mother-lode of information and their FAQs are at ... ... and their Judicial Selection Project is at ... ... check out the information of judicial nominees at ... ... Why Judicial Nominations Are So Important ... at
(all as visited June 19, 2003)

and ...

who is Miguel Estrada "the Hispanic nominee?"

"[Miguel Estrada's] academic and professional credentials place him among elite lawyers in this country, but do not by themselves qualify him for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench. He lacks the kind of written record the Senate typically has before it, and his views on many controversial issues have not been revealed....Mr. Estrada is described by people who have worked with him as a conservative ideologue who is unable or unwilling to distinguish his personal views from what the law requires." (as visited on June 19, 2003)

and ...

who is James Leon Holmes, Arkansas?

An op-ed article that overviews James Leon Holmes, attorney, one of Bush's nominees to a federal trial court in Arkansas. While reading about Holmes does it cause you to hold your nose? Can you believe this stuff? Would you want him to be the federal trial judge hearing your case? Your daughter's case?

(visited on June 18, 2003)

here's more about Attorney James Leon Holmes from a St. Petersburg [FL] Times op-ed article dated May 30, 2003:

"Holmes, a former president of Arkansas Right to Life, is a man whose view of the world is so dated and backward that he shouldn't be put in charge of a classroom, much less a federal district courtroom.... Holmes' twisted notions of women's equality are out of step with constitutional law and modern thinking. He shouldn't be given a chance to impose his rigid moralism for the rest of his life from the bench." (visited June 18, 2003)

a bio ... at ... (as visited June 19, 2003)

and ...

who is William H. Pryor, Jr. ...

"I will never forget January 22, 1973, the day seven members of our highest court ripped the Constitution and ripped out the life of millions of unborn children," Pryor commenting about Roe v. Wade (1973).... Pryor says he agrees with Justice Scalia that "the Constitution says nothing about a right to abortion.'"

Pryor has urged Congress to consider getting rid of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, which protects the right to vote for African-Americans. While testifying before a Congressional Committee, Pryor urged the Committee to "consider seriously…the repeal or amendment of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which [he labeled an] affront to federalism ["states rights"] and an expansive burden that has far outlived its usefulness."

In 1995, as a Deputy Attorney General of Alabama, Pryor and then-Attorney General of Alabama Jeff Sessions joined an amicus brief in support of the state of Colorado's defense of a voter initiative that prohibited local governments from enacting laws protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination (Romer v. Evans). Explaining why his office felt compelled to join the brief, Pryor stated: "The attorney general of Alabama felt strongly that we don't need to be finding new rights in our Constitution [because] we've done enough of that in recent years."

As Alabama's attorney general, Pryor filed an amicus brief in the Lawrence v. Texas case, which has yet to be decided and is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging Texas's sodomy law. Two states joined Alabama's amicus brief in support of sodomy laws. Nine states with such laws on their books did not file briefs to defend their laws. Pryor's brief likens homosexuality to incest, necrophilia *, pedophilia, prostitution and adultery. He fails to recognize homosexual individuals as people worthy of the same constitutional rights and protections that other Americans take for granted.

Pryor had no state duty and nothing in law that forced Pryor as Deputy Attorney General and as Attorney General of Alabama to file amicus briefs in either the Colorado case of Romer v. Evans or the Texas case of Lawrence v. Texas. These are voluntary acts in which Pryor (as a state officer) demonstrated his personal views and his inability to remove ideology from matters of law.

Pryor has also defended a state judge's sponsorship of Christian prayers before jury assemblies.

* necrophilia: (1) Obsessive fascination with death and corpses, and (2) Erotic attraction to or sexual contact with corpses.* (visited June 23, 2003) (visited June 19, 2003) (visited June 19, 2003)

excerpts from 6/11/03 Senate hearing re Pryor ... at ...
(visited June 19, 2003) (visited June 23, 2003)

and ...

who is Judge Terrence W. Boyle, North Carolina?

Judge Terrence W. Boyle is a federal trial court judge in the federal district court system of Eastern District of North Carolina which is within the federal 4th Circuit. The 4th Circuit is the most conservative federal Circuit in the entire country. His present position is entitled: Chief Judge of the District, United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Fourth Circuit.

Boyle was appointed to the federal trial court bench by then-President Reagan in 1984; and became Chief Judge of the District in 1997. Boyle was previously nominated (for one-step up) to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (by then-President George Herbert Walker Bush) in 1991, and rejected. President George W. Bush has nominated Terrence W. Boyle to the same seat as did his father -- to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Boyle's nomination is still in process.

Terrence W. Boyle was born on December 22, 1945 in Passaic, New Jersey. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from Brown University and a juris doctor degree from American University.

(USDistrictCourt, EasternDistrictNorthCarolina does not publish FREE online trial court opinions)

a bio and overview re Judge Boyle including some of his opined cases w/ cites at ... (visited June 19,2003)

and ...

National Organization of Women (N.O.W.) (as visited June 13, 2003)
Terrence W. Boyle, Chief Judge, 4th Circuit Federal District Court, Eastern North Carolina District
short bio, short list of federal district court opinions, and comments including ...

"Former aide to Senator Jesse Helms, who holds a honorary Doctor of Law degree from Bob Jones University."

and ...

National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) ... ... (as visited June 15, 2003)

The Right to Privacy -
Judge [Terrence] Boyle describes the right to privacy as "narrowly circumscribed" and limited to "matters relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, and child rearing and education."

[TaleWgnDg: that's a list of "right to privacy" U.S. Supreme Court cases (since the early 1900s) concerning those subjects as Judge Terrence W. Boyle has enumerated above ... note that Judge Boyle omits abortion rights cases from 1973 to present (a woman's right to privacy of autonomy/her body) ... do you recall Judge Robert Bork's nomination testimony regarding same? sound familiar? Judge Robert Bork was rejected as an ideologue ... note, too, that medical stem cell research is a direct spin-off of the abortion debate ... think, too ... if the "right to privacy" can be picked over as has done Judge Terrence Boyle above, then why not further pick apart "right to privacy" in other non-abortion areas too? what's to stop this ideologue?]

and ...

TaleWgnDg's musings on a new (June 16, 2003) U.S. Supreme Court (USSC) case* ...

Q: May a North Carolina right-to-life non-profit advocacy corporation (North Carolina Right To Life, Incorporated) give monies directly to federal political candidates u/ The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, 2 U.S.C. § 441b?
A: no, held the United States Supreme Court on June 16, 2003.*
Q: Who was the North Carolina federal trial court judge that ruled in FAVOR of North Carolina Right To Life, Inc. that the USSC over-turned on June 16, 2003?
A: Terrence W. Boyle, federal trial court judge authored the trial court majority opinion. Then on appeal, the most "conservative" federal Circuit Court of Appeals -- the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals -- agreed with federal trial court Judge Boyle. However, on June 16, 2003 the USSC over-turned both lower federal courts -- the federal trial court and the federal appeals court.

Think about this for a moment. Ask why? Why would the North Carolina Right to Life, Incorporated want to contribute their money directly to federal politicians, and not funnel monies through a Political Action Committee (PAC)? That, despite a vast body of laws since 1907 which has barred corporation direct contributions to federal political campaigns.

One reason is a significant loophole in the North Carolina Right to Life, Incorporated corporation model. In the corporation model certain donations may be secretive that are not given for the express purpose of political activity. As opposed to a PAC where the name of each contributor and the amount is available by public disclosure laws, and to the Federal Election Commission.

A further rub: how may "given for the express purpose of political activity" be enforced in this corporation model context? Can you run a train through that one too? North Carolina Right to Life, Incorporated (corporation model) may co-mingle its corporate funds; as opposed to the segregated campaign funds as required by law regarding PAC monies.

One more loophole is that a PAC has limitations on each contribution -- up to $5,000.00. Whereas, the corporation model may have certain unlimited contributions whether secretive or not. How do you spell A - B - U - S - E?

Ponder that, and more ... Terrence W. Boyle has demonstrated his ideology in abortion rights. Boyle sits presently on a federal trial court in North Carolina and ruled law erroneously in favor of North Carolina Right to Life, Inc. regarding a federal 1971 campaign law and federal laws since 1907!! Judge Boyle's trial court decision was upheld by America's most "conservative" federal appeals court in the nation, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. The United States Supreme Court over-turned both lower federal courts. Bush has nominated federal trial court Judge Terrence W. Boyle to this federal court of appeals, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Where's your outrage? Bush is packing the federal district courts, the federal appeals courts, and has every intention as he's stated many times to pack the U.S. Supreme Court with ideologues who cannot rule past their own personal ideologies. WHERE'S YOUR OUTRAGE?

7-2 majority, Associate Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia dissented.*

The majority opinion authored by Associate Justice David Souter held, in part: "Since 1907, federal law has barred corporations from contributing directly to candidates for federal office. We hold that applying the prohibition to nonprofit advocacy corporations is consistent with the First Amendment." *

* Federal Election Commission, Petitioner v. Christine Beaumont et al. [North Carolina Right To Life, Incorporated], ___ U.S. ___ (#02-403, June 16, 2003), 278 F.3d 261 (4th Circuit Court of Appeals, North Carolina, September 13, 2002), reversed, 137 F. Supp. 2d 648 (Eastern District North Carolina, January 25, 2000). (as visited June 16, 2003) syllabus, opinion, concurrence, dissent hyperlinks (as visited June 18, 2003) transcript of oral argument March 25, 2003

and ... (as visited June 14, 2003) (as visited June 14, 2003)

National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA)
[a national professional lawyers association of lawyers who defend employees rights in the workplace ... cases ... ]

"strongly opposes Judge Boyle['s]" appointment to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

and ... (as visited June 13, 2003)
Terrence W. Boyle, Chief Judge, 4th Circuit Federal District Court, Eastern District North Carolina short bio, short list of federal district court opinions, including ...

Ruled against African Americans in two voting rights act cases; his opinions were overruled. Cannon v. North Carolina State Board of Education, 917 F.Supp. 387 (E.D.N.C. 1996), reversed 959 F.Supp. 289 (E.D.N.C. 1997) and 1997 U.S. App. LEXIS 31794 (4th Cir. 1997); and, Cromartie v. Hunt, 133 F. Supp. 407 (E.D.N.C. 2000), reversed No. 991864 (U.S. April 18, 2001).

Ruled against an agreement between the United States Department of Justice and the State of North Carolina that would have settled the United States' claim that North Carolina discriminated against women in the hiring of prison guards. This decision was overruled. United States v. North
Carolina, 917 F. Supp. 1257 (E.D.N.C. 1996), reversed, 180 F. 3d 574 (4th Cir. 1999).

and ... (as visited June 14, 2003)

here's an overview of some "legalese" in Cornell Law School's lexicon ... have fun!

and ...

TaleWgnDg's musings embellished from ... (as visited June 13, 2003) (as visited June 13, 2003) (as visited June 14, 2003)

What are Senate "blue slips" in the federal bench appointment process? a kind of "veto?"

Federal district court judge Terrence W. Boyle (from North Carolina) has been offered a step up to the federal appeals court bench in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals by now-retired Senator Jesse Helms (Republican, North Carolina). Several times had Helms pushed for Boyle. Before being appointed to the federal district court bench, which Boyle now occupies, by the first Bush president, Judge Boyle was a former aide to Senator Jesse Helms. Judge Boyle holds an honorary Doctor of Law degree from Bob Jones University. Judge Boyle is a strongly backed nominee by this present Bush and his White House for that federal appeals court position. Senator Elizabeth Dole (Republican, North Carolina) was elected to take ex-Senator Jesse Helms seat in the Senate and Dole presently occupies that Senate seat.

The other present senator from North Carolina, Senator John Edwards (Democrat, North Carolina) who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee and is a presidential candidate, has not returned his "blue slip" as a home-state U.S. Senator regarding Judge Boyle's nomination to the federal appeals court.

During Clinton's presidency, the Republicans used the "blue slip" to block countless nominations. But now that the Republicans control the White House and the Senate, Senator Orrin Hatch (Republican, Utah) Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is shamelessly ignoring the "blue slip rule" and has given Bush carte blanche on federal court judges.

Despite the minority party Democrats demanding that Senator Hatch treat "blue slips" today exactly as he treated them during the Clinton years, Senate Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch (Republican, Utah) has abandoned a tradition that required both home-state U.S. senators to OK a judicial nominee. This is the so-called "blue slip" tradition that many say has allowed senators to effectively veto judicial nominees from their home state.

California Supreme Court Carolyn Kulh was "blue slipped" in opposition by Senator Barbara Boxer (Democrat, California) for a few years. However, recently Chairman Hatch went forward with the vote anyway; and Kulh was affirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a straight party line vote. Kulh will go before the full Senate floor for further vote consideration.* Will the Democrats effectuate a filibuster on the floor to stop Kulh? That's another matter, back to the "blue slips."

The "blue slip" tradition is named for the blue slip a senator doesn't return or marks negatively when opposing a nomination. The tactic has stalled several North Carolina nominations to the federal bench in recent years. Even though North Carolina is the largest state in the U.S. 4th Circuit, no North Carolinians sit on its bench. Helms vetoed North Carolina judges nominated by President Clinton, and Senator Edwards (Democrat, North Carolina) has blocked Judge Terrence W. Boyle of Edenton, North Carolina.

U.S. Senator John Edwards (an attorney in North Carolina and a presidential candidate for 2004) has charged that Judge Boyle "has inaccurately interpreted the law in a way that undercuts basic civil rights protections."

Senator Edwards said the White House should make good on a promise to him to nominate Allyson Duncan, a black Republican woman who was a judge of the North Carolina (state) Court of Appeals. Duncan would be a "consensus North Carolina appointment" and one, Edwards said, who both he and Senator Elizabeth Dole (Republican, North Carolina) supported. Dole's office has declined to say whether she would support Duncan, of Raleigh, or Boyle or the blue slip tradition.

The White House, meanwhile, stuck with Judge Boyle. "The "blue slip" is not a veto but a device to ensure adequate consultation," said spokesperson Jeanie Mamo. "And we consulted extensively with Senator Edwards." [These rightwingers love misconstruing stuff. Did you "listen" closely? Shall we chuckle now? or get further pissed?]

* (visited June 19, 2003)

and ...

TaleWgnDg's further musings ...
What's this about filibuster * ? and what on earth is cloture **?

A minority party in the Senate is at several disadvantages. The obvious disadvantage is not a majority of votes available in the Senate to gets things done as that party deems necessary.

Lesser known disadvantages are that the minority party does not chair any Senate committees. Thus, it does not hold the committee gavel to have this or that issue heard, and this or that president's nominee to get a hearing or not in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Only the majority party has the power to decide if a president's nominee will get before the Senate Judiciary Committee, thereby afford that nominee the opportunity of a committee hearing, and to commence a committee vote for that nominee to ascertain whether that nominee goes before the full Senate floor for a further vote. These are some of the many advantages of the majority party, presently the Republicans.

What happens if the majority party colludes with the president to pack the federal judiciary benches including the U.S. Supreme Court bench? Understand the enormous stakes that are at issue!

What then may the minority party do to combat this? Some minority Democratic Party members in the Senate Judiciary Committee have commenced filibusters* against certain president's nominee ideologues as the majority Republican Party has brought their names forward. As such, these filibustered nominees are stuck where they are, and do not go forward. Why? A filibuster, including the ending of a filibuster, called clouture** , is predetermined by the Senate Rules.

Ask why have reports surfaced that Senator Trent Lott (Republican, Mississippi), Chairman Senate Rules Committee, and U.S. Senator Frist (Republican, Tennessee), Senate Majority Leader, are attempting to not only pack the federal judiciary bench and further collude with Bush, but have met and have held a Senate Rules Committee hearing to "inquire" about the constitutionality of changing the Senate rules of filibuster and/or cloture mid-stream in a Senate session or at the beginning of the next Senate session?

Why this attempt at getting constitutional legal scholars of their choosing documented on the Senate record ... whether its constitutional to change Senate Rules mid-stream in a Senate session? at the beginning of a Senate session? and whether to dump filibuster and cloture in the Senate Rules whether mid-stream or not? Why this obvious c.y.a. process? Why now? WHAT?!! ***

"[Senate Majority Leader] Frist's plan would require 60 votes to break a filibuster over a nomination on the first try, but on subsequent votes the number would gradually be reduced to 57, 54, and finally 51. Filibusters of [Senate] legislation would still require 60 votes to halt." ***

"[Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee,] Lott told reporters that his [Senate Rules Committee] would probably vote on Frist's plan this month. Even short of votes [in Committee], bringing it to the Senate floor 'could be the vehicle for an action that would be determinative,' he said." ***

Dump the Senate filibuster?!! Dump the cloture Senate rules?!! ****

"The Senate hasn't been reformed in many, many years," said Lott [...] " I'm looking for work, so I'm looking at the rules. We'll either have some reform, or we'll have some fun. " *****

How do you spell O-U-T-R-A-G-E ?!! Have I grabbed your attention, yet? *****

* "filibuster - Informal term for any attempt to block or delay Senate action on a bill or other matter by debating it at length, by offering numerous procedural motions, or by any other delaying or obstructive actions." [note that the majority party may be authoring this Senate website] (as visited June 14, 2003)

** "cloture - The only procedure by which the Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill or other matter, and thereby overcome a filibuster. Under the cloture rule (Rule XXII), the Senate may limit consideration of a pending matter to 30 additional hours, but only by vote of three-fifths of the full Senate, normally 60 votes." [note that the majority party may be authoring this Senate website]
[simply put, a "cloture" vote of 60 stops a filibuster. period.] (as visited June 14, 2003)

*** "GOP, Democrats Clash Over Filibuster Rule" By Alan Fram, AP writer, Thursday June 5, 2003 11:19 PM,,1282,-2756026,00.html (visited at June 16, 2003)

**** It takes a super-majority of 67 votes to approve changing the Senate rules, and it seems almost impossible that enough Democrats would vote with the Republicans to come anywhere close to that number. So what's going on? Republicans are pandering to their dumb radical rightwing constituencies once again! for votes next election! for campaign funding! for demonizing minority Democrats who try to keep ideologues from the federal bench! stuff like this reads terrifically swell in campaign literature, that is, if there's dumb in the equation. plus it gets these Senators free air-time on C-Span ... smile, straighten that tie ... free news media coverage too ... see me doing a swell job as your Senator!

***** "Not surprisingly, Pickering has found a friend in Mississippi Republican Senator Trent Lott, who [] hopes to push the Pickering nomination through, wants to have a hearing to change the filibuster rules for judicial nominees in the Senate. Ana Radelat of Mississippi's Clarion-Ledger points out that Lott, as the new head of the Senate Rules committee, is quite enthusiastic: ' The Senate hasn't been reformed in many, many years,' said Lott [...] ' I'm looking for work, so I'm looking at the rules. We'll either have some reform, or we'll have some fun.' " (visited June 16, 2003)

and ...



In order of impact: from #1 having the most impact, on down to the least impact #4 ...

(1) a signed (real name) letter with your (real) residential address has the most weigh,
(2) a signed (real name) FAX letter with your (real) residential address ...
(3) a telephone call leaving your (real) name and (real) residential address ...
(short message, be concise)
(4) an email letter with your (real) name and (real) residential address ...

Its been suggested that the most effective letter to a Senator is a short, concise and to the point writing ... no more than two, maybe three short paragraphs ... so, here goes:

TaleWgnDg's SUGGESTED LETTER or FAX or email
to each member of the Senate Judiciary Committee
(see below for Senate addresses, phones, emails)


TO: Senator HotAir
From: Your Name Here
Date: Today

Why are the Republicans attempting to pack the federal courts with ideologues? Why have the Republicans tossed out the traditional "blue slips?" And, now the Republicans want to eliminate filibusters from the Senate Judiciary Committee too? When does "advice and consent" kick-in, after the majority party steam-rolls the minority party? Does the majority party of today want these extreme tactics to come back and bite them when they are the minority party? This is not the government of which I am proud!

As a voter, I am going to be heard this coming election! I want well-balanced federal courts, not extremists, not fanatics, not radicals, and certainly not federal jurists who wish to place their own personal ideology into our federal laws!

/s/ my real name
and my real address


and ...

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee members, Democrats (minority party) and Republicans (majority party) : (as visited June 13, 2003)

SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, 108th U.S. Senate (2002-2003)
(first hearings for president's nominees to all federal judges/justices)

DEMOCRATIC MEMBERS (minority party) :

Senator Patrick J. Leahy (Democrat, Vermont), RANKING DEMOCRATIC MEMBER
433 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
telephone: (202) 224-4242

Senator Edward M. Kennedy (Democrat, MASSACHUSETTS)
317 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
telephone: (202) 224-4543

Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (Democrat, DELAWARE)
201 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
telephone: (202) 224-5042

Senator Herbert Kohl (Democrat, WISCONSIN)
330 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
telephone: (202) 224-5653

Senator Dianne Feinstein (Democrat, CALIFORNIA)
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
telephone: (202) 224-3841
e-mail: (web form)

Senator Russell D. Feingold (Democrat, WISCONSIN)
506 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
telephone: (202) 224-5323

Senator Charles E. Schumer (Democrat, NEW YORK)
313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
telephone: (202) 224-6542
e-mail: (web form)

Senator Richard J. Durbin (Democrat, ILLINOIS)
332 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
telephone: (202) 224-2152

Senator John Edwards (Democrat, NORTH CAROLINA) (2004 presidential candidate)
225 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
telephone: (202) 224-3154
e-mail: (web form):

REPUBLICAN MEMBERS (majority party) :

Senator Orrin G. Hatch (Republican, UTAH), CHAIRMAN
104 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
telephone: (202) 224-5251
e-mail: (web form)

Senator Charles E. Grassley (Republican, IOWA)
135 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
telephone: (202) 224-3744
e-mail: (web form):

Senator Arlen Specter (Republican, PENNSYLVANIA)
711 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
telephone: (202) 224-4254

Senator Jon Kyl (Republican, ARIZONA)
730 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-4521
Fax: 202-224-2207

Senator Mike DeWine (Republican, OHIO)
140 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
telephone: (202) 224-2315
e-mail: (web form):

Senator Jeff Sessions (Republican, ALABAMA )
335 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
telephone: (202) 224-4124

Senator Lindsey Graham (Republican, SOUTH CAROLINA)
290 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
telephone: (202) 224-5972
e-mail: (web form):

Senator Larry Craig (Republican, IDAHO)
520 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
telephone: (202) 224-2752
e-mail: (web form):

Senator Saxby Chambliss (Republican, GEORGIA)
416 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
telephone: (202) 224-3521

Senator John Cornyn (Republican, TEXAS)
telephone: (202) 224-2934
e-mail: (web form):

and ...

if you want to send that (above) SUGGESTED LETTER or another letter to other Senators (other than those on the Senate Judiciary Committee (above)), then see the below Senate url for address contact information ...

======================================== (as visited 6/13/03)
108th U.S. Senators, names, DC address, DC telephone, email addy
======================================== (as visited June 13, 2003)
108th U.S. House, names w/ congressional districts and hyperlinks to each website

McCain's address is here b/c its more complete than available on the above urls ...

Senator John McCain (Republican)
241 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone # (202) 224-2235
Fax # (202) 228-2862
TDD # (202) 224-7132
email (webform):


That's it! Are you still awake? Hopefully you were able to swim through this plethora of information without drowning. Thanks for your attention ... and please remember:


- TaleWgnDg

P.S. I do not endorse the content of the url pages that I've herein posted. Nor do I mean to construe it as an endorsement. Instead, the urls are for references only.

Do you want this GWBush nominee seated as a federal judge: James Leon Holmes drew audible gasps when he notoriously stated, "conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami." (can we say, I-D-E-O-L-O-G-U-E, kids?)




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Part 2
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Part 3 (June 12, 2003)
Part 4 (July 8, 2003)


Bush Is Packing The Federal Courts: What Can I Do? (June 28, 2003)


The Rantings of an Angry, Fed Up Conservative


A RECAP OF THE USSC'S 2002 TERM (July 5, 2003)


The Myth of Free Trade (Febuary 3, 2004)

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