- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Heston to boost Cornyn

Charlton Heston, actor and National Rifle Association president, will campaign for Texas Republican Senate candidate John Cornyn later this month, Mr. Cornyn's campaign says.

"I'm delighted that Mr. Heston has agreed to come, particularly under the circumstance of his recent announcement," Mr. Cornyn said in yesterday's editions of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Mr. Heston's announcement last month that he had begun to exhibit symptoms of Alzheimer's disease hasn't stopped him from campaigning for candidates the NRA favors. Mr. Cornyn got the group's endorsement over Democrat Ron Kirk, a former Dallas mayor.

For $75, Cornyn backers can listen to Mr. Heston's booming voice over breakfast on Sept. 21 at South Fork Ranch, made popular by the TV show "Dallas," according to an invitation to the event.

Supporters who give $1,000 can have their pictures taken with Mr. Heston and Mr. Cornyn.

The 78-year-old "Ben-Hur" star will headline a second event at noon that day in the east Texas city of Longview, campaign officials said.


Out of the mainstream

"The White House and Senate Republicans, miffed over the rejection of another conservative judicial pick, plan to use the Democrats' call for 'mainstream' nominees against them," Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

"The war plan: Call for 'mainstream,' not liberal, Democrats on the Senate panel that approves Bush's judicial nominees. 'Senators like [Edward M.] Kennedy, [Charles E.] Schumer, and [Patrick J.] Leahy aren't mainstream,' says a Bushie."


Anti-woman

"Feminist groups took a dramatic anti-woman turn last Thursday when the effort to defeat Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen, President Bush's nominee to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, succeeded. Despite overwhelming support from a bipartisan group of colleagues, associates, editorial boards, and friends from across the nation, Priscilla Owen was denied a seat on the federal bench by 10 liberal U.S. senators browbeaten by feminists," Kay R. Daly writes at National Review Online.

"With a straight party-line vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee of 10-9, liberal feminist groups welcomed Owen's defeat. This, despite the fact that Justice Owen was more than qualified. She has served with distinction on the Texas Supreme Court since first being elected in 1994. Every major newspaper in Texas endorsed her re-election bid in November of 2000, and she was re-elected with 84 percent of the vote. The American Bar Association, not known for conservative leanings, unanimously rated Justice Owen 'well qualified,' its highest possible rating once referred to by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy as the 'gold standard.'

"In fact, this is the first time in history that a nominee voted unanimously 'well qualified' by the ABA has been voted down in the United States Senate," said Miss Daly, who is president of the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary.

The writer added: "This is a tragic time for women. Priscilla Owen attended law school at a time when only 29 percent of law students were female. She received the highest grade on the bar exam. She worked hard and ultimately earned a seat on the Texas Supreme Court. Now, however, she has hit a glass ceiling installed, ironically, by feminists."


Democratic filibuster

"For weeks Democrats have demanded that Congress approve any U.S. military action against Iraq. Now that President Bush has obliged them, however, they are suddenly moving the goalposts," the Wall Street Journal says.

"They're still insisting on a vote, but conveniently not until after the November elections," the newspaper noted in an editorial.

"'I'm more concerned about getting this done right than getting it done quickly,' Majority Leader Tom Daschle now says. Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin has also heard the call of arduous, slow statesmanship: 'If it takes a month or two to do the deliberation on this, it ought to be done, and in a way which is very thorough and careful. That's important and I believe there's time to do it right.'

"What we have here is high-sounding rationalization for a Democratic political filibuster. The members have known for months, indeed years, about the threat from Saddam Hussein. Mr. Levin heads a committee that is supposed to be assessing threats to U.S. security as a regular order of business. Their own favorite president, Bill Clinton, declared in February 1998 that Saddam was 'building an arsenal of devastating destruction' and that 'some day, some way, I guarantee you, he'll use the arsenal.' (That was before Mr. Clinton ceded U.S. policy to the United Nations.)

"Democrats hardly need two more months now to deliberate over this evidence, most of which they already know. They merely want to push any decision past Election Day so their votes won't put their Senate majority at risk. They can then posture as statesmen for two months, but only declare themselves after the day when voters would be able to hold them immediately responsible. Let's hope Saddam's nuclear-weapons program is operating on the same wait-until-the election timetable."


Suspicions at VOA

"The recent sacking of Voice of America Director Bob Reilly by the mostly Clinton-era holdovers who make up the federal Broadcasting Board of Governors is not being well received on Capitol Hill," United Press International reports in its Capital Comment column.

"Several House Republicans are already at work on a letter to the members of the BBG demanding to know why Reilly, a presidential appointee, was made to resign under pressure. The letter reportedly threatens additional cuts in funding for VOA of up to 25 percent of the total budget unless the oversight committee is given a satisfactory explanation as to why the board, most of whom were originally appointed to the BBG by the Clinton administration and whose terms have expired, thought they should interfere with Reilly's effort to carry out the administration's priorities for the agency in the war against terrorism," the wire service said.

"This issue, sources say, is not likely to go away quietly. Congressional watchdogs are said to be cross-checking the membership of the BBG against the list of donors to the Clinton and Gore presidential campaigns with special focus on billionaire media tycoon Norm Pattiz, who racked up a lot of bonus miles in the Air Force One frequent-flyer program during the Clinton years."


History lesson

When Justice Stephen G. Breyer took over the "Massachusetts seat" of the U.S. Supreme Court once held by legendary Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. he was "quite nervous."

Justice Breyer, speaking at a celebration of Boston's 372nd anniversary at Old North Church, said he felt like he belonged in an old New Yorker cartoon that depicted a dog walking a high wire at a circus, the Associated Press reports.

Recalling the punch line, Justice Breyer said: "All Rover can think about as he steps onto the high wire is that he's an old dog and that this is a very new trick."

The 108th Supreme Court justice, appointed by President Clinton in 1994, gave a history lesson about the eight preceding justices who hailed from Massachusetts, but stayed away from modern issues before the court.

Justice Breyer, 64, one of the court's most liberal justices, said his favorite was Louis Brandeis, the court's first Jew and an ardent supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt's ambitious New Deal programs.

"If I had to pick one personal hero, it would be Brandeis," Justice Breyer said.


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