- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 1, 2002

RICHMOND Virginia's NAACP chapter and advocates for the disabled have asked Virginia's Republican U.S. senators to reject President Bush's nomination of a federal judge from South Carolina to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
King Salim Khalfani, executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Virginia, said yesterday that U.S. District Judge Dennis Shedd has shown a pattern of ruling against plaintiffs in civil rights cases.
He sent letters to Sens. John W. Warner and George Allen asking them to defy their Republican president and oppose Judge Shedd's confirmation to the Richmond-based federal appeals panel that is considered the nation's most conservative.
The 4th Circuit includes West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas and has the highest minority population of any judicial circuit in the nation.
The letter to Mr. Warner said that in Judge Shedd's 11 years on the bench, his opinions "reflect hostility toward plaintiffs in civil rights cases. He has dismissed 37 of 40 cases that came before him on summary judgment before a jury could hear a plaintiff's case."
A letter from the Dale City, Va.-based Disabled Action Committee to Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, asserts that Judge Shedd's opinions show a "disregard for laws protecting the disabled" and "a high level of insensitivity on issues of race."
The NAACP's South Carolina chapter, the state's Legislative Black Caucus and organized labor groups have also spoken out against Judge Shedd's nomination, citing similar claims.
A telephone message seeking comment was left on an answering machine in Judge Shedd's chambers in Columbia, S.C.
Judge Shedd has the support of both of South Carolina's senators, retiring Republican Strom Thurmond, and Democrat Ernest F. Hollings. Judge Shedd's backers, including several South Carolina law professors, say he is a mainstream jurist.
In a letter the University of South Carolina law professors wrote to Sen. John Edwards, North Carolina Democrat, they cited four cases in which Judge Shedd allowed employment discrimination claims to proceed to trial, rebutting assertions that he improperly dismisses such claims as "misleading and inaccurate." The professors said they knew of only two employment discrimination cases in which higher courts overturned Judge Shedd's rulings.
The letter is posted on a U.S. Department of Justice Web site.
Judge Shedd was Mr. Thurmond's counsel when Mr. Thurmond was Senate president pro tem. In June, Mr. Hollings introduced Judge Shedd to the Judiciary Committee, praising him as "my kind of judge hard and tough, but hard and tough on both sides."
Mr. Khalfani said confirming Judge Shedd would reverse any benefits minorities and victims of discrimination realized from the confirmation three months ago of Roger Gregory as the first black judge on the 4th Circuit.
However, Mr. Khalfani was guarded about the likelihood the Senate with the narrowest Democratic majority would reject Judge Shedd's nomination after already rebuffing Mr. Bush on two other appellate nominations.
"We're hearing that you just can't beat a president up on every nominee," Mr. Khalfani said.

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