- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Edwards’ filibuster

Democratic vice-presidential candidate John Edwards, who often talks of standing up for the little people, is under attack from a civil rights group for denying a confirmation vote for a black woman nominated to the second-highest court in the country.

California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown was born to a sharecropping family in Alabama, where she overcame poverty, segregation and single-motherhood to work her way through college and law school.

Though Mr. Edwards often talks of the struggles of being born into the white middle-class family of a South Carolina textile-mill supervisor, he joins a group of about 45 Democrats that refuses to allow Justice Brown a final confirmation vote because they view her as “conservative.”

The Congress of Racial Equality — a civil rights group supporting Justice Brown — is creating a television ad in Mr. Edwards’ home state of North Carolina urging Mr. Edwards to allow her a final up-or-down vote.

“Judge Janice Rogers Brown is the daughter of sharecroppers and an American success story,” a female announcer says in the ad. “For her remarkable work, she has been nominated to the federal bench. … Tell John Edwards and Ted Kennedy to stop blocking the nomination of Judge Janice Rogers Brown.”

Said Niger Innis, spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality: “It’s John Edwards’ timidity and cowardice in dealing with this question, it’s the Democrats’ filibustering tactics that could affect this campaign. We just want to let black Americans know what is happening within the Democratic Party.”

Targeting Edwards

A new 527 political organization said yesterday that it will conduct a campaign to “tell the truth about trial lawyers,” including a discussion of John Edwards‘ legal career.

The announcement was made by the co-chairmen of the November Fund, Craig Fuller, and a former Tennessee senator and Republican National Committee chairman, Bill Brock.

Mr. Fuller, who served as chief of staff to Vice President George Bush in the Reagan administration, said the organization will focus on key battleground states and will “educate voters on how the actions of trial lawyers cost our economy over $200 billion a year.”

“The health of our economy is an important issue in this election. Frivolous lawsuits are costing ordinary Americans over $3,000 a year per family in extra costs for everything from cars to child care to prescription drugs,” he said.

Mr. Democrat

Democratic Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia has a message for critics who contend he is a longtime closet Republican: When he casts a vote for President Bush in November, it will be his first for a Republican in 52 years as a voter.

“I have never voted for a Republican in my life,” Mr. Miller told The Associated Press yesterday. “I have supported every Democratic campaign since 1952. I have voted for hundreds of local and state Democratic candidates. There is no one that has worked harder or longer in the vineyards of the Democratic Party.”

Mr. Miller’s endorsement of Mr. Bush and his selection as the keynote speaker at the Republican convention next week outraged many Democrats.

Mr. Miller was a vocal supporter of Bill Clinton in 1992 and gave the Democratic keynote for him in Madison Square Garden, the same place he’ll deliver the Republican speech. He said that he supported Al Gore four years ago “because I was a loyal Democrat,” but has had a change of heart because of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

‘Direct comparison’

Medal of Honor recipient Col. George E. “Bud” Day, an Air Force fighter pilot who spent six years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, is going after Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, comparing him to one of history’s most famous traitors.

Col. Day was a Hanoi Hilton cellmate of Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and takes issue with the defense of Mr. Kerry by “my good friend, John.”

Mr. Kerry’s 1971 U.S. Senate testimony as a returned Vietnam veteran, claiming atrocities and war crimes by fellow U.S. servicemen, was “outright perjury, absolute lies, fabrications, fantasies with no substance [that] gave ‘aid and comfort’ to our enemies, the Vietnamese communists,” Col. Day said in a message to fellow veterans obtained by The Washington Times.

Col. Day said Mr. Kerry “opened up his character as a war hero, reporting for duty to the country with a hand-salute, and his band of brothers, of which he was the chief hero.”

“I draw a direct comparison of Gen. Benedict Arnold of the Revolutionary War to Lt. John Kerry,” Col. Day said. “Both went off to war, fought, and then turned against their country.

“General Arnold crossed over to the British for money and position. John Kerry crossed over to the Vietnamese with his assistance to the anti-war movement, and his direct liaison with the Vietnamese diplomats in Paris. His reward: Political gain. Senator, United States.”

Forbidden verses

A lawsuit charges the California Department of Social Services with violating the free-speech rights of an employee by removing Bible verses and political statements from the walls of his cubicle.

Department employee Enoch Lawrence, a disability evaluation analyst, was told by his superiors that items he hung in his cubicle — including a bumper sticker that reads “Marriage: One Man One Woman,” a small sign that says “Jesus Spoken Here,” various Bible verses, and two published articles on current political issues — violated the department’s “zero tolerance” policy prohibiting sexual harassment and unprofessional conduct because they could be seen by other employees passing by his cubicle. Department officials removed the items, according to the lawsuit this week by the Alliance Defense Fund.

ADF says the department policy is unconstitutional.

“The Constitution does not allow the department to silence his free-expression rights just because they don’t like the viewpoint he is expressing,” said ADF counsel Joshua Carden.

Partying protesters

Demonstrators apparently are ready to party along with the GOP during the Republican National Convention in New York next week. At a recent meeting of protesters, a list of “gala parties” was distributed.

Among other things, it told of an Aug. 30 golf outing at Trump National Golf Course that costs $350 per person and an “Hispanic event” on Sept. 1 at the Copacabana.

But what raised our ire was the mention of the Aug. 29 concert by “Leonard Skynyrd.” Now, we’re not sure who is in charge of music history at demonstration headquarters, but we’d hope they have access to the Internet, where they could check the spelling of the Confederate flag-waving Southern rock band and get the name right.

It’s Lynyrd Skynyrd. Now isn’t that simple? Perhaps the person putting together the list recalled that the name of the band came from Leonard Skinner, the assistant principal at their high school who tried to make the boys get their hair cut. Rather than conform to his Establishment ways, the band transferred to another school, according to legend.

The band’s detractors call them redneck, backwoods hillbillies and worse. Our guess is that the protest crew, which seems to favor anything considered “diverse,” has no time for the details.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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