- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 5, 2005

Scalia’s views

Judges must remain independent of political pressure so they can perform their most basic function of upholding individual rights, Justice Antonin Scalia said yesterday.

His comments were part of an address at Texas A&M University, Reuters news agency reports.

“The solution [of expulsion] throws the baby out with the bath water,” Justice Scalia said.

“You don’t want to turn the judiciary over to the people. When you do that, the judiciary cannot stand as a bulwark between the people and the rights of the individual, which is what they are supposed to do,” he said.

Justice Scalia spent most of his speech attacking fellow judges and lawyers who do not follow the original meaning of the Constitution.

Courts today are dominated by a belief that the Constitution is a “living document” to be interpreted in the context of the times, he said, citing decisions permitting abortion and limiting the death penalty.

“I’m trying to sell you a dead Constitution,” he joked. “No, I can package it better than that — the enduring Constitution.”

Running for governor

Six-term Democratic Rep. Ted Strickland will run for governor of Ohio, though he had ruled that out in January, two party officials told the Associated Press yesterday.

Mr. Strickland, 63, will make the announcement early next week, said the officials in Ohio and Washington, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The congressman would neither confirm nor deny a run for governor, a job held by Republicans since 1991.

“I have decided what to do in regard to my future plans,” Mr. Strickland said, adding that it was “highly unlikely I will run for the Senate.”

Gov. Bob Taft, first elected in 1998, cannot seek re-election because of term limits.

Mr. Strickland’s entry into the governor’s race would be a blow to Senate Democrats, who have tried to recruit him to challenge two-term Republican Sen. Mike DeWine next year.

Mr. Strickland would become the second Democrat in the governor’s race, joining Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman.

Three statewide officeholders — Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, Attorney General Jim Petro and Auditor Betty Montgomery — are seeking the Republican nomination.

Case of plagiarism

The press secretary for Rep. Steve Pearce, New Mexico Republican, resigned after admitting that he plagiarized material in a newspaper column published under the congressman’s name.

Jim Burns said he copied large parts of a column that ran in the El Defensor Chieftain of Socorro, N.M., last month from the Web site of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. The column was about energy policy.

“What I did was wrong,” Mr. Burns said Wednesday. “It was a colossal error in judgment. Rather than stay on and embarrass the congressman, I am leaving.”

El Defensor Editor Dana Bowley said the newspaper went to the foundation’s Web site and found the column copied almost word-for-word from a column by a senior policy analyst for Heritage.

Mr. Burns, a former reporter for United Press International, also said there may have been other instances of plagiarism in speeches and columns he has written on Mr. Pearce’s behalf since taking the job in January.

Pearce Chief of Staff Greg Hill said the congressman had not been aware of the plagiarism, the Associated Press reports.

Off the list

A national organization that promotes Republicans who support abortion rights on Wednesday removed Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s name from its list of advisory board members and from the list of candidates it will endorse in elections next year, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

The Texas senator’s office said she did not ask that her name be removed. But Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign, which views Mrs. Hutchison as a potential rival in the Republican gubernatorial primary next year, suggested that she was trying to camouflage her position on one of the hot-button issues among Republican activists.

“It looks like she’s trying to hide from her record,” said Luis Saenz, a spokesman for the Perry campaign. “Governor Perry is very proud of his record when it comes to issues dealing with the unborn.”

The national organization, called the Wish List, would not say why Mrs. Hutchison’s name was removed.

The senator has consistently supported abortion rights.

Taking the pledge

The majority of New York voters said Hillary Rodham Clinton deserves to be re-elected to the Senate next year, but want her to pledge to serve a full, six-year term if she runs, according to a statewide poll released yesterday.

The Democratic former first lady made such a pledge in 2000 when she ran for the Senate. Mrs. Clinton, leading in the polls for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, has yet to offer such a pledge this time.

Sixty-five percent of Democrats polled by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute said she should pledge to serve a full term if she runs for re-election, but 61 percent also said they would like her to run for the White House in 2008. Overall, 41 percent of New York voters said she should run for president, including 17 percent of Republicans.

Mrs. Clinton had 2-1 or better leads over several potential Senate opponents, and 67 percent of voters said she deserves to be re-elected, the Associated Press reports.

Symington’s decision

Fife Symington, pardoned former Arizona-governor-turned-pastry chef, says he will not challenge popular Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano next year.

Mr. Symington told Phoenix TV station KPHO in an interview aired Wednesday that he has decided to keep his consulting and cooking jobs after months of toying with the idea of running for his old seat.

However, the 59-year-old Republican did not rule out a future run for a different office, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Symington resigned from office in 1997 after a federal jury convicted him of bank and wire fraud. The conviction was overturned on appeal in June 1999, and President Clinton pardoned him in January 2001.

Brady groups pay

A gun-control group and its political action committee have paid a $12,000 fine to settle a campaign-finance case from the 2000 election.

At issue were ads and endorsements by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and its Voter Education Fund involving various Democratic candidates, the Associated Press reports.

The American Conservative Union, in a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, accused the Brady organizations of making illegal corporate contributions to the Democrats’ campaigns.

The FEC disclosed the outcome of the case yesterday.

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

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