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March 24, 2006
A Saad Day

The ramifications of the Gang of 14's Memorandum of Understanding continue to impact the lives of those whom President Bush nominated to the federal appellate bench. After his nomination languished for months after the agreement, Henry Saad has withdrawn his nomination, a forgotten victim in a political process gone awry:

Henry W. Saad, one of President Bush's appeals court nominees blocked by Senate Democrats, withdrew his name from consideration, a presidential aide said yesterday.

Democrats have accused Saad, a Michigan appeals court judge, of being hostile to employment-discrimination claims and lawsuits by consumers. ...

Saad's nomination to the Cincinnati-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit was submitted to the Senate in January 2003, and he was renominated last year. His nomination was one of 10 blocked by Democrats, who used the filibuster, which allows unlimited debate, to prevent a Senate vote.

This withdrawal should embarrass the United States Senate, the Gang of 14, and especially Harry Reid. Reid attempted a crude smear last year on Saad, claiming that unspecified security issues made it impossible to allow him to the appellate bench -- when he already sat on the federal bench. Without having seen the file himself, because he wasn't cleared for such access, he characterized the file to reporters as problematic.

Republicans, especially those on the Gang, should be especially shamed by Saad's withdrawal. They treated him like a leper almost the entire year, barely lifting a finger in Saad's defense while the Democrats painted him as a radical. Despite holding a majority in the upper chamber and having their own President nominate him -- twice -- the GOP leadership left Saad twisting in the wind. To Saad's credit, he remained on the official list of nominees for months as a reminder of the lack of political courage the GOP showed in this Congress in defending appellate court nominees. They have allowed an appalling rate of confirmations to these seats, the lowest in many years if not ever, despite their control of the Senate and the White House. That demonstrates a leadership deficit that time may camouflage but cannot entirely hide.

Hopefully, Henry Saad will pick himself up and demonstrate his brilliance in the Michigan state appellate court, reminding everyone what we missed on the appellate court.

CORRECTION: Saad is a state appellate court judge, not a federal district court judge; thanks to CQ's readers for that correction.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 24, 2006 5:34 AM

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