U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today released the following statement on the Senate's vote to confirm Judge Leslie Southwick, of Mississippi, to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Obama opposed Southwick's nomination.
"The American people deserve a court system that upholds civil rights and the Constitution. Unfortunately, this Administration has placed partisanship and rigid ideology ahead of our most basic rights. Leslie Southwick's nomination is the latest example of this dangerous trend, and I am extremely disappointed in the Senate's decision to approve this nomination.
"As a Mississippi state court judge, Southwick has shown hostility toward civil rights and a disregard for equal rights for minorities, women, gays and lesbians. During his hearing before the Senate, Southwick could not find one case - in his 7,000 opinions - in which he sided with a civil rights plaintiff in a non-unanimous verdict.
"From the Jena 6 to the recent Roberts/Alito court ruling on school integration to this confirmation, now more than ever we need to restore integrity and a commitment to civil rights in the courts. I strongly oppose this nomination, and will fight any other Bush nominations that threaten the very basis of our freedom and democracy."