Monday, April 14, 2008

Bill Frist Still Sucks

Posted By on Mon, Apr 14, 2008 at 3:30 PM

click to enlarge cheesefryfrist.jpg
Yesterday, former U.S. Sen. Bill Frist showed his knack for creative writing in a Tennessean op-ed supporting his former legislative director and current judicial nominee Gus Puryear. Neglecting to mention the nationwide press criticism Puryear has endured, Frist characterized the opposition to his appointment merely as “political posturing” and urged a return to a “bipartisan model” of confirming judges," an act of shamelessness that would rival a Paris Hilton ode to chastity. “When I served as a majority leader of the Senate, I saw firsthand the political circus that can accompany judicial nominations,” he wrote. “Some of my colleagues threatened to filibuster obviously well-qualified nominees.” Then again, Frist and other Republicans didn't have a problem playing partisan politics when there was a Democrat in the White House. In 1996, the Belle Meade politico voted to filibuster a judicial nominee President Clinton appointed. When Bob Schieffer of Face the Nation asked him about it a few years later, Frist stuttered and stammered and came off about as eloquent as when he tried to diagnose Terry Schiavo from the Senate floor. “Filibuster, cloture, it gets confusing—as a scheduling or to get more information is legitimate. But no to kill nominees.” Frist definitely could have used an editor. The former physician also wrote that the American Bar Association unanimously “rated Gus qualifed to be a U.S. District Judge,” neglecting to note that his friend's rating actually falls in the bottom 20 percent of Bush nominees. The ABA gives most of Bush's prospective judges a “well-qualified” rating—a step above the one it gave to Puryear—so obviously the group had some issues with our nominee's lack of meaningful courtroom experience. That doesn't mean Puryer will make a dim judge—there are many smart attorneys who think just the opposite—but please, let's not trot out his ABA rating as proof of his competency when it's actually the opposite. Frist also foolishly promoted Puryear's phantom “broad bipartisan support within Nashville and Washington,” citing the endorsement of Thurgood Marshall Jr., the son of the late associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. But the former senator failed to mention one little detail—almost all of the Nashville Democrats who support Puryear just happen to work for a law firm that bills CCA, where Puryear works as the corporate counsel—something activist Alex Friedmann pointed out to the City Paper, which initially failed to disclose such ties in its online Sunday story. And as for Marshall, he serves on the CCA board and owns stock in the company. It would be news if he didn't support Puryear.

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