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Tuesday, 25 July 2006 06:23

First There Was Scalito. Now Mini-Clarence Thomas is a Federal Judge

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Bush nominee Jerome Holmes was confirmed today 67-30 by the Senate to be a federal judge for the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Holmes, who is African-American, is considered to be heavily conservative and is openly anti-affirmative action, much like Justice Clarence Thomas.

Ahead of the vote, fifteen different civil rights groups signed on to a letter expressing "grave concern" regarding the nomination. "His criticism of affirmative action raises serious questions about whether litigants could expect him to rule impartially and fairly on claims that turn on legal principles of affirmative action, and about Mr. Holmes' approach to antidiscrimination laws more broadly," the letter said.

Holmes recently decried the recent Supreme Court decision regarding Michigan Law School admissions because it "missed an important opportunity to drive the final nail in the coffin of affirmative action."

Holmes also supports school voucher programs and the death penalty, of which he has said "the statement society [makes by executing a convicted murderer] ... is not materially diminished by the fact that in the implementation of the death penalty mistakes are made."

What's more, Holmes recently belonged to the Oklahoma City-based Men's Dinner Club, a social group that excludes females, and only quit once he had been nominated to the bench.

There undoubtedly should be more diversity in the judiciary, along with the rest of government. But this diversity ought to reflect the views, not just the ethnicity, of underrepresented minorities. Holmes' nomination is not a rare GOP compromise but a successful ploy to appear racially tolerant while giving life tenure to another judge who will rubberstamp their ultraconservative agenda.

Holmes is just another example of the extremist Bush nominees who are a threat to the judiciary. One of the next on the list is William Haynes II who, according to the New York Times, is not suited to be a federal judge because of his interpretations of the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions, which have led to the practice and acceptability of torture and the stripping of rights for detainees.