- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 29, 2003

The Senate is expected to confirm former state Solicitor Jeffrey Sutton of Ohio to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today, but Democrats yesterday vowed to continue the logjam of President Bush's other conservative judicial nominees.
"If the administration continues to nominate judges who would weaken the core values of our country and roll back the laws that have made our country a more inclusive democracy, the Senate should reject them," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat and longtime member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Later this week, Republican Senate leaders are expected to file a fourth effort to break the filibuster on Miguel Estrada, a Washington lawyer nominated to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Republicans said they also plan to press for a vote this week on Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen, nominated to the 5th Circuit.
Democrats are threatening to filibuster the judicial nominations of Justice Owen and several other conservatives who they say hold views outside the mainstream. A filibuster requires 60 votes to break.
Most of these nominations have been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on party-line votes and are expected to pass if put before the full Senate, with at least one or two Democrats joining 51 Republicans in support.
At a press conference yesterday morning, several interest groups criticized Mr. Sutton, a partner in the firm of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue of Columbus, Ohio.
Wearing "Stop Sutton" stickers, they accused the solicitor of activism aimed at undermining the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as Congress' ability to protect Americans against discrimination based on race, age, disability and religion.
Ed King, executive director of National Senior Citizens Law Center, displayed a poster titled "Jeffrey Sutton's Hit Parade" with a list of workers who they say had been fired or denied promotions because of age discrimination.
Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican and chairman of the judiciary panel, yesterday said Mr. Sutton was known for "fairness, open-mindedness and personal integrity" and that he represented "the best of the legal profession."
"During his legal career, he has not only demonstrated keen intellect, strong advocacy skills and a commitment to the rule of law, but has dedicated a substantial amount of his time to providing pro bono legal services to a variety of individuals and groups," said Mr. Hatch.
Mr. Sutton served as solicitor from 1995 to 1998 and has been an adjunct professor of law at Ohio State University since 1994.
Several liberal critics of Mr. Sutton said they were fighting a larger effort by Mr. Bush to "stack the courts" with conservatives.
"Everything you have ever fought for is in great peril right now," said Ralph Neas, president of the People for the American Way.
More alarming to Louis Bograd of the Alliance for Justice is the youthfulness of many appeals court nominees.
"Like President Reagan before him, President Bush has offered up some very young nominees," he said. "These judges will shape our courts for a generation."
Eleanor Smeal of the Feminist Majority Foundation worried that "the right to birth control will be limited."
She said she remembered growing up in the 1960s when racial integration came "only with riots and destruction."
"Are we going to have to go back into the streets?" Ms. Smeal asked.
One vote that will be watched closely today is that of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat and member of the judiciary panel. She was the only Democrat to vote for Mr. Sutton in the committee, saying that many of his most disputed positions were taken as an attorney, not a judge.
She has been accused of deserting Democrats, and one California radio host says she should open a chain of "Feinstein Waffle Houses."

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