What Democrats might say about Clement

Raw Story says it has the talking points from the Democratic staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Published July 19, 2005 8:11PM (EDT)

Raw Story, which seems to have a knack for getting its hands on talking points before anyone has even begun talking from them, has what it says is a copy of talking points on Edith Clement prepared by the Democratic staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The document lists seven "issues of concern":

  • Limits constitutional rights: The document says Clement is a "conservative jurist whose opinions belie an exceedingly narrow view of the constitutional rights of individuals."
  • Restricts access to courts: The document says that Clement "employs a narrow view" of "standing" -- the issue of who can sue, and under what circumstances -- that is similar to Antonin Scalia's.
  • Cozy with corporate interests: The document says that Clement has attended more than 10 judicial junkets funded by corporate interests. The document says Clement's participation in such junkets "raised questions" during her confirmation hearing for the court of appeals but that Clement has continued to participate in them. (And on this point, it's worth noting that, despite those questions, Clement was confirmed 99-0 in 2001.)
  • Imposes her views above jury verdicts: The document says that Clement's opinions show a "lack of deference to jury findings on issues such as damages for pain and suffering."
  • Endorses activist courts: The document says that, in the Senate questionnaire she completed in the course of her prior confirmations, Clement said "in determining whether or not the legislative or executive branch has acted within its constitutional powers, the court should be 'activist' in its considerations of constitutional definitions, granting of powers and guarantees of liberties in determining the meaning of the text."
  • Opposed environmental protection of endangered species: The document notes that Clement broke with even some conservative judges on the 5th Circuit when she joined in a dissent that questioned the constitutionally permissible reach of the Endangered Species Act.
  • Hostile to minority rights: The document notes that Clement dissented from a decision that granted a group of African-American policy holders the right to sue insurance companies, as a class, for allegedly paying African-American customers lower benefits while charging them higher premiums.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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