Silberman watch


Geraldine Sealey
February 12, 2004 12:45AM (UTC)

The Alliance for Justice's report on the record of Laurence Silberman, the federal judge President Bush nominated last week to co-chair the nine-member bipartisan commission that will study what went wrong with pre-war intelligence on Iraq, says Silberman's career on and off the bench reveals the dangers of confirming an "intense partisan."

The report was prompted in part by allegations David Brock made in his book Blinded by the Right, in which the former-right-winger says Silberman urged him to pursue rumors that then-Gov. Bill Clinton used Arkansas state troopers to facilitate affairs with women and later, rumors that Clinton was having an affair with an intern. "Federal judges shouldn't do what Brock claims Silberman did. They are supposed to be impartial arbiters, not partisan advocates. Even those cynics who believe that federal judges are guided on the bench by partisan ideology should be dismayed by Silberman's alleged conduct off the bench. And perhaps most important on the bench, on such issues of national and historical importance as the constitutionality of the independent counsel statute, Oliver North's felony conviction for his role in Iran-Contra, and President Clinton's claim of executive privilege, Silberman issues rulings consistent only in their raw partisanship."

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Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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