Lott predicts GOP will re-take Senate

By By William F. West / community editor
Sept. 6, 2002
Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott said he is confident Republicans will retake control of the Senate this fall.
Lott also predicted that a GOP-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee will elevate fellow Mississippian, Judge Charles Pickering, from U.S. District Court to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Speaking to Mississippi reporters by telephone on Thursday, Lott singled out Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy of Vermont for criticism.
In March, a solid block of 10 Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats put Pickering's nomination on ice. The 10-9 vote came after concern in other parts of the country that Pickering was too conservative and would throw the 5th Circuit out of balance.
The 5th Circuit is made up of Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, and still includes several judges from the Reagan and first Bush administrations.
Lott has repeatedly complained that Democrats on the committee are determined to block nominations of conservative jurists regardless of their qualifications.
He said his beliefs were reinforced Thursday by another 10-9 vote, also for a position on the 5th Circuit bench, this time against Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen.
Lott said Democrats took issue with Owen on abortion. According to Lott, the judge had upheld a lower court decision in Texas requiring parental notification before an abortion. Lott said that is the only issue the Democrats have cited in voting against Owen.

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