Bush Scandals List

269. Racist, anti-gay judge Leslie Southwick confirmed by Senate to Court of Appeals

On October 24, 2007, Leslie Southwick was confirmed by a vote of 59-38 to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. As a conservative judge on the Mississippi Court of Appeals, Southwick ruled, in defiance of an employee’s appeals board decision backed by state law, to reinstate a state employee who had referred to a colleague as a “good ole n*gger.” In another case, he joined with the majority opinion that a lesbian mother should be denied custody of her 8 year old child noting in part her homosexuality and moral fitness: “the mother may view her decision to participate in a homosexual relationship as an exertion of her perceived right to do so. However, her choice is of significant consequence, as described before in the discussion of our State’s policies, in that her rights to custody of her child may be significantly impacted.” Despite his racial insensitivity and homophobia, Southwick was confirmed through the critical support of conservative Democrats (the Gang of 14) and the lack of opposition by Senate Majority leader Harry Reid. On August 2, 2007, Southwick was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee to the full Senate with a favorable report 10-9 with Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) voting with the committee’s Republicans. Ben Nelson (D-NE) then helped drum up support for the nomination on the floor and on October 24, 2007, cloture on the nomination passed 62-35 paving for the final vote 59-38 later the same day.

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