- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 27, 2003

Dellinger's 'chutzpah'
"It takes some chutzpah for Walter Dellinger, a veteran of the Clinton Justice Department, to complain that President Bush's judicial nominees include 'no one who has ever publicly endorsed a position that differs from the president's view on an issue such as abortion,'" Ramesh Ponnuru writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
"Under these circumstances, Dellinger wrote for [Tuesdays] Washington Post op-ed page, 'senators may well conclude that an ideological test is effectively being applied and respond in kind.' The administration in which Dellinger served had an explicit litmus test: Clinton promised in 1992 to appoint only judges who support Roe v. Wade," Mr. Ponnuru said.
"Dellinger suggests the terms of a peace settlement to the judicial-confirmation wars: Bush should let Senate Democrats pick a few judicial nominees for him, in return for agreeing to confirm all of the nominees. Left unmentioned is that Bush tried a small-scale version of this gambit. He renominated two of Clinton's judicial picks in an effort to be conciliatory. He also entered an arrangement with Democratic senators Feinstein and Boxer [of California] very much like the one Dellinger outlines.
"What has Bush gotten from the Democrats for these gestures? As far as I can tell, zip. All the renominations accomplished was to let Senate Democrats claim a higher confirmation rate than they could otherwise have done.
"To accept the deal, Republicans would have to regard the judiciary as just a higher form of pork. In that case, it might make sense to say: OK, your judges give you a policy victory here, and ours will give us one there. That is especially true if our concern is limited to the federal 'judicial vacancy crisis' and the low confirmation rate that Republicans have been talking about. If, on the other hand, Republicans believe that their judicial picks are more committed to the proper enterprise of judging than the Democrats' are, then there's nothing in Dellinger's deal for them."
Musgrove's foe
"Democrat Ronnie Musgrove's road to re-election as Mississippi governor just got a lot bumpier," United Press International reports in its Capital Comment column.
"Trial attorney John Arthur Eaves Jr., a former political ally, entered the race Monday on a platform of protecting citizens' rights, including the right to free speech and the right to trial by jury," the wire service said.
"As the Jackson, Miss., Clarion-Ledger reports, Eaves has 'for months … run television ads criticizing Musgrove for calling a special session and signing a bill that caps pain-and-suffering awards in malpractice lawsuits.'
"As of now, Haley Barbour, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, is unopposed for the GOP nomination."
Mr. Musgrove filed his re-election papers yesterday.
Gephardt and labor
Rep. Richard A. Gephardt is one of five Democratic presidential candidates who trekked to Hollywood, Fla., this week to woo labor leaders attending an AFL-CIO executive council meeting. The others have come and gone, but Mr. Gephardt cleared his calendar for three days and has become part of the scenery at the Diplomat Resort and Spa, the Associated Press reports.
He has made no secret that he wants organized labor's endorsement, the wire service said.
"I think I'm going to get significant, important support from workers and labor unions," he said Tuesday. "And for a simple reason: I have shared their beliefs and I have bled and fought on their issues for 26 years in the United States House. They know that."
Union leaders across the board eagerly praise Mr. Gephardt and his loyalty through the years, and he was very well received when he addressed the council Tuesday. But that enthusiasm tempers a bit when the talk turns to Mr. Gephardt as president.
"He has a lot of advantages, but he has to run his race with our members and the voters before we could even begin think about what to do," said Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, one of the AFL-CIO's most politically active unions.
The prospects for an AFL-CIO endorsement for Mr. Gephardt or any other candidate are slim. It requires two-thirds support of the 65 member unions, many of whom have divergent and even conflicting agendas.
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney has barred state federations and central labor councils from making endorsements until the federation acts. He also has urged national unions to wait.
Language lawsuit
The Justice Department filed a lawsuit Tuesday against a southeastern Pennsylvania county for refusing to provide Spanish-language assistance to its growing ranks of Hispanic voters.
The federal suit also accuses Berks County of violating voting laws by employing poll workers who express 'overt hostility' toward Hispanics and actively discourage citizens who don't speak English well from casting ballots, the Associated Press reports.
"It is a priority of this administration to ensure that all Americans are able to vote, free of hostility, harassment or intimidation," Assistant Attorney General Ralph Boyd said in a written statement.
The government's charges stem from an undercover investigation during a May 2001 primary. Observers said poll workers asked Hispanics for identification documents they shouldn't have been required to produce and made frequent discriminatory and hostile remarks.
The suit comes after months of negotiations between federal officials and the county over its reluctance to accommodate Spanish-speaking voters.
The county this month rejected a Justice Department proposal that would have required the county to hire bilingual poll workers and set up a Spanish-language voting-information phone line, among other things.
Daley's triumph
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley won a fifth term by more than a 5-to-1 margin over his closest challenger and vowed to continue what he called his life's work running the city that his father once led.
The rout further solidified Mr. Daley's standing as one of the most popular politicians Chicago has ever seen, the Associated Press reports. His popularity rivals that of his father, Richard J. Daley, who defined the Chicago Democratic machine in his 21 years as mayor.
Some say the mayor, who seldom faces any opposition from the City Council, holds too much power. What Mr. Daley calls coalition building, critics call machine politics.
But Mr. Daley scoffed at suggestions that he is too powerful.
"I don't have the power. The people have the power," Mr. Daley said after Tuesday's landslide victory. "If a public official believes they have the power because the people voted for you, boy, that is a great mistake."
Mr. Daley appeared to have won in all of Chicago's 50 wards in the nonpartisan election, crushing challenges from two black ministers the Rev. Paul Jakes and the Rev. Joseph McAfee and black businesswoman Patricia McAllister.
Bloomberg's ratings
New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who has been slashing budgets and raising taxes to close a huge budget gap, would lose badly to a Democratic challenger if an election were held today, according to a poll released yesterday.
New Yorkers would vote for a Democrat and against the incumbent mayor by a 48 percent to 27 percent margin, according to the poll released by Quinnipiac University.
However, 48 percent of those surveyed approved of the job Mr. Bloomberg was doing, while 41 percent disapproved. That's better than in November, when 41 percent liked his performance while 46 percent did not, Reuters reports.


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