Pickering Goes on the Record

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For four years, Charles Pickering, Sr. waited on the U.S. Senate to vote whether or not to confirm him to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. It never happened.

Democrats in the Senate successfully fought to stop his nomination, using some of Pickering's rulings as a federal judge to paint him as someone insensitive on racial issues, a charge he hotly refutes.

"When people say, does it make you mad to hear they're saying things about you that are not true? It would have bothered me a lot more if they had been true," said Pickering, of Laurel.

Pickering details that nasty and controversial confirmation in his new book, titled, "Supreme Chaos, The Politics of Judicial Confirmation and the Culture War."

It's that culture war that Pickering says was really to blame for his nomination being shot down, specifically the issue of abortion.

"What drove the opposition to me was abortion," said Judge Pickering. "That drove the opposition to all the Bush nominations."

Pickering also says Democrat senators used his and other appellate court nominations as practice for fighting a Supreme Court nomination, but he says it backfired on them, citing as proof the successful nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito.

"I think the fact that they fought us so hard, they cried wolf one time too many, made it possible for Roberts and Alito to be confirmed," said Pickering.

Pickering says he plans to write a second book detailing how he thinks the confirmation process needs to change, to make it fair for both sides.

Pickering's interview may be seen in its entirety on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. on WTOK-TV, Channel 11.