Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today after the Senate Judiciary Committee favorably reported the nomination of Judge Leslie Southwick to the full Senate:
“Today the Senate Judiciary Committee concluded its review of the nomination of Judge Leslie Southwick to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and by a narrow margin favorably reported the nomination to the full Senate. I will schedule a debate and vote on the Senate floor. However, I remain strongly opposed to this nomination.
“My primary concern is that Judge Southwick’s record as a Mississippi state judge demonstrates insensitivity to racial minorities and others. Most notably, in the Richmond case he voted to uphold the reinstatement with back pay of a white state employee who had used the N-word in reference to an African-American co-worker.
“Race is a highly sensitive issue throughout the United States, but especially in the states that comprise the Fifth Circuit. It took the courageous action of judges on that court to carry out the Supreme Court’s desegregation decisions and destroy the vestiges of the Jim Crow era. Judge Southwick’s nomination to a court on which an African-American from Mississippi has never served must be viewed in this context. His failure to give full weight to the vile meaning and history of racial slurs is deeply disturbing and cannot be overlooked.”