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Supreme Chaos: The Politics of Judicial Confirmation and the Culture War

Recorded on February 15, 2006

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

Our judicial confirmation process is in a state of chaos. America's culture war has set the stage for a power struggle reaching to the highest court in the land - the Supreme Court. Integrity and ability are becoming less of the criteria for evaluating the caliber of a judge than one's positions on hot-button social issues. Judicial nominees endure partisan conflict rather than a dignified and respectful legislative process. Special-interest groups degrade confirmation proceedings into bitter character assassinations that malign the reputations of nominees.

In Supreme Chaos, Judge Charles Pickering, who faced unprecedented use of the Senate filibuster in his own judicial confirmation drama, provides an insightful assessment of the situation and argues that we must find a way out of the quagmire for the sake of the judiciary, our children and grandchildren, and the rights of all Americans.

CHARLES W. PICKERING SR. was appointed as a United States District Judge for the Southern District of Mississippi on October 2,1990, by President George H. W. Bush. In May 2001, President George W. Bush nominated him to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. After his Senate confirmation was obstructed and blocked for more than two and a half years, President Bush named Judge Pickering to the 5th Circuit seat by recess appointment on January 16, 2004. After his commission expired without subsequent Senate action, Judge Pickering retired from the Federal Bench on December 8, 2004. He is presently Senior Counsel with the law firm of Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz.

Photos from the event:

Supreme Chaos, Charles Pickering

Supreme Chaos, Charles Pickering