- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 7, 2001

Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating is chairing a new bipartisan group committed to seeing that President Bushs judicial nominees are confirmed.
"With one out of every eight federal judgeships vacant, we cannot let partisan political bickering derail the confirmation of judges," Mr. Keating said yesterday at a news conference on Capitol Hill to announce the formation of People for Common Sense Courts.
"We want a fair hearing for these judges … in both the [Senate Judiciary] committee and on the Senate floor… . The average American is basically conservative" and wants judges with conservative values, the governor said later in the day in an interview on CNNs "Inside Politics."
Andrew R. Stephens, president of People for Common Sense Courts, said the group hopes to convince the Senates new Democratic leaders to heed the "voice of common sense and begin considering nominees" and not "listen to the extremist groups that declared war on President Bushs judicial nominees before the names were even announced."
Mr. Stephens said that beginning today, his organization will "initiate a grass-roots and advertising campaign to encourage Democratic senators to make the right choice."
The ad campaign will start today in South Dakota, home state of new Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, said associate director Jim Renne.
In an interview, Mr. Renne said People for Common Sense Courts has made a "substantial television advertising buy" in what he described as "battleground states."
He identified Nebraska and North Dakota as other states that will be targeted in the initial ad buy. He declined to reveal the cost of the campaign.
"Were a group of people concerned that others are trying to politicize the judiciary… . We view ourselves as countering those on the extreme left, such as Nan Aron of the Alliance for Justice and Ralph Neas of People for the American Way, who want to kill the presidents judicial nominations," Mr. Renne said.
He noted that the new organization is "definitely bipartisan." Griffin Bell, a Democrat who was U.S. attorney general under President Jimmy Carter, is among its nine senior advisers. And some professors and former high-placed judges who are Democrats are among its 33 steering committee members.
In its first 30-second ad spot, People for Common Sense Courts says Mr. Bush "supports common sense judges with character, experience and intellect, judges who will protect working families, support law enforcement and enforce existing laws, instead of trying to write social policy from the bench."
"The judges President Bush supports are the judges American families need," the ad concludes.
Mr. Renne said people began "working behind the scenes" to create People for Common Sense Courts well before anyone knew that the Democrats would take control of the Senate.
He said they were propelled by a statement Miss Aron made in December saying that the Alliance for Justice would try to block Mr. Bushs conservative nominees to the federal judiciary. "It will be scorched earth. We wont give one lousy inch [on Bush judicial nominees]," said Miss Aron, who led the successful fight against Judge Robert Borks nomination to the Supreme Court in 1987.

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