Thursday, December 09, 2004

Pickering Out; Fifth Circuit 'Cheeky,' Texas Court of Criminal Appeals 'Icky'?

The question remains unanswered, mostly: Which court is worse -- the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, or the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Texas' highest criminal court?

Both have been the subject of repeated U.S. Supreme Court smackdowns (though not enough).

President Bush could make that question harder or easier to answer now that Charles Pickering, Sr. has stepped down from the Fifth Circuit.
President Bush filled Pickering's old Distict judge's slot with Keith Starrett, a former drug court judge who was unanimously confirmed by the Senate. By contrast, Pickering received an interim appointment to the Fifth Circuit over the objection of fillibuster-threatening Democrats who would not have approved his nomination next year.

Meanwhile, already in a funk over work dilemmas, Article III Groupie at Underneath Their Robes notes Grits' question, and finds herself verklempt that it might be necessary to raise it. After all, state courts are "icky." A3G's blog presents itself as the People magazine of the federal judiciary. It's a wonderfully written gossip column that usually concerns itself with topics such as who is a judicial "hottie" or what car does Clarence Thomas drive? Even as a self-described "federal judicial starf***er," though, A3G's writerly integrity forces her to admit she finds some 5th Circuit decisions "cheeky," and that they might be giving the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals "a run for its money in the category of 'most badly bench-slapped by the Supreme Court.'" "Cheeky"!! I love that!

It'd be easy for President Bush to find a nominee, like he did with Judge Starrett, who could be easily confirmed -- maybe even a nominee who could bring some sorely needed stature and respectability to the flailing Fifth Circuit. I can tell you one thing, though: It ain't Priscilla Owen.

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