Skip to main content

Ford, black leaders at odds over Alito
By Peter Savodnik

Rep. Harold Ford's opposition to filibustering Judge Samuel Alito's Supreme Court nomination is exacerbating tensions between the Tennessee Democrat and black political leaders, underscoring the fine line that the Senate hopeful must walk.

Ford, running for the seat being vacated by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R), said Friday that Alito should get an up-or-down vote, which would more or less assure the nominee's approval. Ford's comments came the same day that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) announced its support for the filibuster spearheaded by Sens. Edward Kennedy and John Kerry, both Massachusetts Democrats.

The comments also follow attempts by the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to derail the nomination of Alito, whom Democrats have accused of repeatedly siding with corporations in employment-discrimination cases, watering down civil liberties and other issues.

That effort entailed lobbying members of the bipartisan Gang of 14 to vote no on Alito and issuing a statement in early December, weeks before Alito's Senate hearings, declaring the CBC's opposition to the nominee.

Ford, however, has yet to take a position on how he would vote on Alito. The congressman has said he would have supported John Roberts for chief justice of the Supreme Court, and a Ford aide said that his boss's position on judicial nominees had not changed and that he felt all nominees should be considered on their merits.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), the CBC's chairwoman for judicial nominations, declined to criticize Ford or his position on the filibuster, but she did say that there was widespread and deeply felt opposition to Alito among CBC members.

The only member of the CBC who actually has a say on Alito, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), was expected to vote yesterday against cloture, or for the filibuster, said his spokesman, Tommy Vietor.

"Our rights, rights that it took us 200 years to get, is what this nomination is about," Norton said. Norton called Ford a "good friend," adding that members have a right to their own opinions.

Norton said the CBC has not taken an official position on the filibuster.

Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP's Washington bureau, was less understanding. "It is surprising to us that Harold Ford, who has had such a distinguished record on civil rights, would not get in line."

He added: "It is deeply concerning to us that he would take a stance like that that is so important to the African-American community and to other communities of color."

An aide close to a longtime CBC member indicated that there is frustration among CBC members that Ford is not taking a stand against a nominee whom many in the black community, she said, vehemently oppose.

The aide acknowledged that Ford is running in an uphill battle. President Bush, as Republicans like to recall, beat Tennessee native Al Gore in 2000, 51 to 47 percent, in the state.

Even though Ford has a centrist voting record "” opposing the president's tax cuts while protecting gun companies from liability, among other issues "” he remains one of the most liberal members of his state's congressional delegation.

Even so, that record, which also includes support for the concept of private Social Security accounts, repeal of the estate tax and faith-based social services, has often put Ford at odds with the majority of his caucus. After the 2002 midterm elections he ran for House minority leader, losing to Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) 177-29.

What's more, Republicans, for now, seem largely unfazed by Ford's candidacy. In a recent meeting with reporters, Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.), who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, did not even bother to comment on the race.

Three Republicans, Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker and former Reps. Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary, are running for the Senate seat.

A Republican political consultant conceded that Ford is a strong candidate with a clear, well-articulated message of centrist, results-oriented government but said it is unlikely that an African-American Democrat can win in Tennessee.

The congressman has spent years canvassing rural precincts in the eastern and central parts of the state shoring up a base of support outside his hometown of Memphis.

Shelton, the director of the NAACP's Washington bureau, said that the Democratic congressman could make a stand against the president's Supreme Court nominees and still win in November.

Still, the issue is likely to figure prominently in the Senate campaign, said Ford's campaign spokeswoman, Carol Andrews, and it is unclear how that helps the Democrat.

"I think that they'll try to make it an issue as they try to shore up their conservative credentials," Andrews said, referring to Republicans running in the Senate race. "We are in the Bible Belt."

© MBM

Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP's Washington bureau, was less understanding. "It is surprising to us that Harold Ford, who has had such a distinguished record on civil rights, would not get in line."

He added: "It is deeply concerning to us that he would take a stance like that that is so important to the African-American community and to other communities of color."---article

Shelton, the director of the NAACP's Washington bureau, said that the Democratic congressman could make a stand against the president's Supreme Court nominees and still win in November.---article

What complete bullshit!!!!

This the man who tells us it is to our benefit to not demand equal protection under the law because it willl make 'white' folks mad.

Puhleeze.

This whole filibuster bluff, and that's all it is, because it cannot sustain itself, is only about political posturing.


PEACE

Jim Chester
NAACP chairman compares GOP to Nazis
Bond delivers blistering partisan speech in North Carolina

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted: February 2, 2006
1:00 p.m. Eastern



© 2006 WorldNetDaily.com


Julian Bond

Civil rights activist and NAACP Chairman Julian Bond delivered a blistering partisan speech at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina last night, equating the Republican Party with the Nazi Party and characterizing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her predecessor, Colin Powell, as "tokens."

"The Republican Party would have the American flag and the swastika flying side by side," he charged.

Calling President Bush a liar, Bond told the audience at the historically black institution that this White House's lies are more serious than the lies of his predecessor's because Clinton's lies didn't kill people.


"We now find ourselves refighting old battles we thought we had already won," he said. "We have to fight discrimination whenever it raises its ugly head."

He referred to former Attorney General John Ashcroft as J. Edgar Ashcroft. He compared Bush's judicial nominees to the Taliban.

The talk so infuriated at least one black family in attendance among the 900 in the auditorium that they got up in walked out in protest.

"He went on and on name calling," said Lee Wilson. "I walked out in the middle of his speech with my wife and three kids"

The harsh partisan rhetoric from Bond should not have surprised anyone who has followed him in recent years.

In July 2001, Bond said, "[Bush] has selected nominees from the Taliban wing of American politics, appeased the wretched appetites of the extreme right wing, and chosen Cabinet officials whose devotion to the Confederacy is nearly canine in its uncritical affection."

Add Reply

Post
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×