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Senate Democrats Under Fire for Plot Against Judicial Nominees

Thursday, 12 February 2004 12:00 AM

A coalition representing millions of grassroots citizens from all across America has gone to the Public Integrity Section of the Justice Department “humbly suggest[ing] that agents of the United States Department of Justice should endeavor” to seize the infamous internal memos between Senate Democrat staffers and pressure groups on strategy for blocking President Bush’s judicial nominates.

Kay Daly, president of Coalition for a Fair Judiciary, says it’s important that the Justice Department take possession of thousands of memos now under the Senate sergeant-at-arms’ lock and key, lest “negligent or unscrupulous” employees of the that office “intentionally or inadvertently destroy evidence of a crime.”

In an exclusive interview with NewsMax.com, Daly says the matter is particularly urgent because the Sergeant-at-Arms William Pickle “in the last [Clinton] administration was head of the Gore security detail for the Secret Service.”

It was Daly’s coalition that originally made 14 of the memos available to the public when they were leaked to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Times. Those documents showed Democrats being urged to stall a judicial nominee so as to make it more likely that case on racial set-asides in Michigan would be decided in a manner pleasing to NAACP. The nomination was stalled, and the case was decided the way NAACP desired.

Some legal experts have raised questions as to whether this is akin to jury-tampering, a crime.

Thousands of other memos, not yet made public, remain locked up in Pickle’s custody.

Democrats have turned the tables on Republicans and focused on what they argue is criminal activity on the part of GOP staffers who read the memos. Their protests resulted in the resignation of Manuel Miranda as majority counsel to the Judiciary Committee and general counsel to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

In a farewell letter, Miranda said that he had done nothing improper and that he had seen the memos but was not responsible for distributing them. He then put the focus on what the memos said.

“I have read these documents evidencing public corruption by elected officials and staff of the United Senate,” he wrote. “This includes evidence of the direct influencing of the Senate’s advice and consent role by promise of campaign funding and election support in the last mid-term election.” Alleged vote buying and bribery issues thus have caused Daley’s coalition to see that the memos are not destroyed.

Daly says her coalition of 75 activist groups represents people who are “definitely interested in the public corruption of their elected officials.”

“This is an incredibly important subject because they’re also talking about the corruption of the federal judicial nomination process. That’s the problem.”

Democrats on the committee met for two hours with Pickle earlier in the week and, according to

Two other Democrats on the committee, Teddy Kennedy of Massachusetts and Dick Durbin of Illinois, said downloading the memos by GOP staff was “highly improper and probably criminal.”

Miranda says he broke no laws.

Daly says her coalition is concerned that the sergeant-at-arms “is the only person on planet Earth that has the hard drives, the copies of these memos in existence that I know of. And so we have asked the Public Integrity Section to swoop in and see if they can’t take control of these hard drives … so that public corruption can be investigated.”

One GOP wag compares the Democrats’ attempt to play offense as the best defense to the old joke about a man who, suspecting his wife is unfaithful, opens a closet door in his own house to be met by an angry strange man wagging his finger at him declaring: “That’s the problem with you husbands. Always opening doors! Always prying!”

The scores of groups in Daly’s Coalition for a Fair Judiciary read like a who’s who of heavy hitters in the conservative movement. They include Free Congress Foundation, American Conservative Union, Landmark Legal Foundation, Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, and the Christian Coalition.

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A coalition representing millions of grassroots citizens from all across America has gone to the Public Integrity Section of the Justice Department "humbly suggest[ing] that agents of the United States Department of Justice should endeavor" to seize the infamous internal...
Senate,Democrats,Under,Fire,for,Plot,Against,Judicial,Nominees
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2004-00-12
Thursday, 12 February 2004 12:00 AM
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