Thursday, March 11, 2010

Obama Judicial Nominee Supported Serial Killer

Supreme Court nominees get plenty of scrutiny from the press. But a lot of nominations to lower courts need attention as well. The latest Appeals court nomination by the Obama administration is a shocker. Robert Chatigny seems to have a real soft spot for criminals. Fox News reported as follows on the inexplicable and outrageous leniency shown by Chatigny to a serial killer.

"The Senate Judiciary Committee has postponed the hearing for a controversial Court of Appeals nominee after the panel received a letter from a home-state prosecutor blasting the candidate as a judicial loose cannon and after Republicans raised concerns about bias in favor of sex offenders.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Chatigny gained notoriety in 2005 for his role in trying to fight the execution of convicted serial killer and rapist Michael Ross, also known as The Roadside Strangler, whom Chatigny had described as a victim of his own "sexual sadism."

His conduct in that case, which included threatening to go after Ross' attorney's law license, as well as his ruling in 2001 against sex offender registries created under Megan's Law, has caused a commotion among Republicans on the judiciary panel. "

Obama himself submitted the nomination with a glowing recommendation for the "first-rate" legal expert and "faithful" public servant. Does he do his homework on these nominations? Maybe Obama doesn't check out his nominees thoroughly enough. A more chilling thought is that they actually represent his opinions on criminal justice.

Being soft on crime doesn't play anywhere except in places where citizens can't vote, like in maximum security penitentiaries. Most Americans are not flanked by Secret Service agents . Nor do they right terror proof automobiles. If Obama's crime policies are as ineffective as his economic policies, he could be in for serious political trouble in inner city neighborhoods, where fear of crime is not an academic abstraction.

Nor is crime unrelated to economic recovery. People who open up businesses want to be able to go to and from their businesses safely. If a neighbourhood is seen as dangerous, people will not want to open up businesses there and create jobs.

Opposing Megan's law, which requires sex offenders to register their whereabouts is a major tool in fighting some of the most frightening categories of crime. What was Chatigny thinking when he ruled against that?

It is good that the Senate Judiciary Committee postponed the hearing for Chatigny. But that is not enough. Chatigny should be sent packing.

We need to watch President Obama's low level nominees . It is the low level officials who shape the daily lives of American citizens. A bad court decision can stand for years as the appeal works its way through the system. Plenty of injustices can go unchallenged for years until someone decides to "fight city hall".

One of the worst things that can appear on a job evaluation is that someone "works poorly without supervision". After over a year in office, it is clear that this description is sadly appropriate for President Obama. After the Chatigny nomination, it is clear that our President needs to be watched very closely by the American people.

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