Group protests blocks to judicial nominees

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Protesters met U.S. Sen. Carl Levin on his way to a meeting with supporters Monday in Allegan because he has blocked President Bush’s nominees to a federal appeals court.

State Rep. Fulton Sheen, R-Plainwell, and about 20 other people gathered outside the Allegan County Vocational Center and demanded that Levin “free the Michigan four.”

The group, the Allegan County chapter of Michigan Citizens for a Sound Economy, wants Levin, D-Detroit, and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, to drop their objections to four Michigan nominees to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Presidential nominees for judicial posts should be evaluated solely on their judicial qualifications, not on their political ideologies,” Sheen said.

“The obstructionist behavior of Senators Levin and Stabenow (is) not in the interests of the people of Michigan.”

The Ohio-based court hears appeals from Michigan and three other states.

Levin and Stabenow have blocked the nominations to pressure the Bush administration to give them more input or create a bipartisan panel to select Michigan nominees for the federal bench.

At a Judiciary Committee hearing last week, Levin said “moving forward without resolving the impasse in a bipartisan manner could deepen partisan differences and make future efforts to resolve this matter more difficult.”

Levin said two of President Clinton’s nominees were blocked for four years by then-U.S. Sen. Spencer Abraham, R-Mich. During the Clinton presidency, he added, no nominee got a committee hearing if there was opposition by a senator from that nominee’s state.

© 2003 Grand Rapids Press. Used with permission