Renewing the struggle over President Bush’s judicial picks, a civil rights group intends to launch a limited ad campaign this week attacking Janice Rogers Brown as a “radical judge” unworthy of confirmation to the appeals court.
The ad says Brown “threatens to turn back the rights we’ve fought so hard to protect … health and safety, equality, Social Security.”
The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights plans to air the commercial in Rhode Island, Nebraska and Maine, states represented by senators the group hopes to sway. The commercial also will air on cable television in the Washington, D.C., area, according to Mistique Cano, a spokeswoman for the group.
The organization declined to say how much money it will spend to show the commercial.
A member of the California Supreme Court, Brown is the second of three of Bush’s nominees to the federal appeals court to be guaranteed final votes under the terms of an unusual agreement signed last week by centrists of both political parties. Democrats had filibustered the nomination, fearing that if she ever came to a final vote, she would be confirmed.
Under Senate rules, it takes 60 votes to end a filibuster and force a final vote. Confirmation requires only a majority.
Within two days of the agreement, Priscilla Owen had been confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals. A third nominee long stalled by Democrats, William Pryor, also was guaranteed a final vote under the accord.
Two other appointees, William Myers and Henry Saad, were left dangling, with Democrats free to support a continued filibuster that could prevent either man from coming to a final vote. The agreement left dissatisfaction on both ends of the political spectrum.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., backed by conservatives, has said he intends to seek confirmation of all of Bush’s nominees. Democrats and their supporters have vowed to try to defeat them, even those where the centrists have pledged to end the filibusters.
In a speech in New York during the day, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy said he was disappointed when he first heard about the agreement, “since we strongly opposed the three nominees who were given a green light for confirmation.”
Now, Kennedy said, “it is impossible to predict even its short-term prospects,” given a possible vacancy this year at the Supreme Court.
At the same time, the Massachusetts Democrat said, “I hope it will turn out to be a triumph of the imagination in the service of public interest, a triumph of the normal over the abnormal. I hope historians will be able to say that the opposite of chaos arose out of chaos.”