Thursday, March 27, 2008

Gus Puryear and Cape Fear

Posted By on Thu, Mar 27, 2008 at 3:47 PM

[image-1] It's becoming a regular feature on Pith: More Trouble for Gus Puryear. The latest development is brought to you by none other than Alex Friedmann, the former CCA inmate who has furiously lined up opposition to Gus Puryear's appointment to a federal judgeship. It's one of those “Only in America” stories, or maybe a sequel to Cape Fear: Here we have a violent ex-con taking on the lead attorney for the company that once imprisoned him. And so far at least, Friedmann is playing the part of Robert De Niro beautifully, flailing Puryear at every step in his bid to sit on the bench. Now we might as well jump. This week, the former inmate secured three women's groups to oppose Puryear's nomination based on the nominee's membership at the notoriously discriminatory Belle Meade Country Club. The press release is here. Though Friedmann still thinks that the Senate ultimately will nominate Puryear, I keep hearing he can trash his judicial ambitions once and for all. After the report that questioned whether CCA whitewashed reports to their public-sector clients, along with our own story about how the prison company handled the death of one of its inmates, Puryear will likely face additional questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee. That could delay a committee vote on the nominee until the summer and even if they approve his nomination, Puryear would still have to be approved by the full U.S. Senate. Then the question would be whether Puryear could count on a floor vote in the middle of a presidential campaign—while a war rages and a recession looms. I think the Democrats will just run out the clock on Puryear, which isn't entirely fair: A presidential nominee deserves the courtesy of an up or down vote. Then again, as the corporate counsel for a hyper-political company like CCA, Puryear can't exactly complain about how the game is played.

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