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Another “radical activist” (Republican) judge

Timothy Kincaid

September 27th, 2010

In what is becoming a strong ironic trend, yet another judge who has found that gay people are, well, citizens like everyone else and constitutionally protected from discrimination turns out to be a Republican. As we noted last week, U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton ordered the Air Force to reinstate Major Margaret Witt, saying

The application of “Dont’s Ask Don’t Tell” to Major Margaret Witt does not significantly further the government’s interest in promoting military readiness, unit morale and cohesion. Her discharge from the Air Force Reserves violated her substantive due process rights under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. She should be restored to her position as a Flight Nurse with the 446th AES as soon as is practicable, subject to meeting applicable regulations touching upon qualifications necessary for continued service.

Now the Seattle Times tells us a bit more about Judge Leighton:

Leighton, 59, was appointed to the federal bench by President George W. Bush in January 2002 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in November of that year.

An active Republican and longtime Tacoma trial attorney, Leighton twice served on fundraising committees for former Sen. Slade Gorton.

Gorton, the state’s last Republican senator, championed Leighton twice as a federal judicial nominee. The first nomination came from George H.W. Bush in 1992, but the Senate failed to act on the nomination before Bush Sr. left office.

I noticed that this time the usual suspects didn’t even trot out the “liberal activist judge” accusations. They must really be disheartened by now.



Lindoro Almaviva
September 27th, 2010 | LINK

Funny, the people who have done the most lately for the gay community did not self appoint fierce advocates

Regan DuCasse
September 27th, 2010 | LINK

We can speculate on a number of things. Whether the judge has some personal and important relationship with someone gay. Certainly after Judge Walker’s orientation was revealed, and marriage equality opposition looked to THAT, instead of his actual record to claim bias. Walker’s record doesn’t reflect any bias towards gay people outside of evidence before the law.

In the case of the justices in IA, same thing. Their RECORD has to be considered, but their unanimous vote in favor of equality IS sticking to the basic principle of Constitutional protection, not exclusion.

This judge is someone who has to be looking at Major Witt’s RECORD too. Her experience, and conduct as an exemplary member of the armed service. It’s a CONSERVATIVE value, to respect this record of service and the results of it, not just her orientation.

It IS not only un Constitutional to punish a person for doing something so responsible, AND competently, but what logical reason is there to do it?

The military is all volunteer. Somewhere in even the laws of the military, the person who has some objections to other service members, could be for all kinds of reasons.
Serving with women, Muslims… Jews, or felons. It’s the recruit that doesn’t WANT to serve who should have the opt out. Exemplary service members, shouldn’t be forced to.
How CAN the military reconcile the tacit way they approve bigotry, with having competent and willing service people at the ready?

But I digress. This judge is doing an example of doing what’s right, as opposed to doing what’s politically expedient.

John in the Bay Area
September 27th, 2010 | LINK

I would guess that the majority of federal judges now on the bench were appointed by Republican presidents.

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