November 5, 2005 – A New SCOTUS Nominee – The Matter Of Scooter Libby – A Farewell To Rosa Parks
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November 5, 2005 – busy day – busy week for news. President Bush’s nomination for the Supreme Court Samuel Alito was getting ready for a round of confirmation hearings.
The American Civil Liberties Union formally opposed Alito’s nomination. The ACLU has only taken this step two other times in its entire history, the last time being with the nomination of Robert Bork who was rejected by a 58–42 vote in the Senate. In releasing their report on Alito, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero justified the decision by saying that “At a time when our president has claimed unprecedented authority to spy on Americans and jail terrorism suspects indefinitely, America needs a Supreme Court justice who will uphold our precious civil liberties. Unfortunately, Judge Alito’s record shows a willingness to support government actions that abridge individual freedoms.”
Barack Obama (D) said, “Though I will reserve judgment on how I will vote on Judge Alito’s nomination until after the hearings, I am concerned that President Bush has wasted an opportunity to appoint a consensus nominee in the mold of Sandra Day O’Connor and has instead made a selection to appease the far right-wing of the Republican Party.”
John Kerry (D) stated: “Every American should be deeply concerned that the far right wing which prevented Harriet Miers from even receiving a Senate hearing is celebrating Judge Alito’s nomination and urging the Senate to rubber-stamp the swing vote on our rights and liberties. Has the right wing now forced a weakened President to nominate a divisive justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia?”
Lincoln Chafee (R) stated on January 30, 2006, “I am a pro-choice, pro-environment, pro-Bill of Rights Republican, and I will be voting against this nomination.”
“NARAL Pro-Choice America announced its opposition to President Bush’s nomination of Samuel Alito, Jr. to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. In choosing Alito, President Bush gave in to the demands of his far-right base and is attempting to replace the moderate O’Connor with someone who would move the court in a direction that threatens fundamental freedoms, including a woman’s right to choose as guaranteed by Roe v. Wade.”
The National Association of Women Lawyers “determined that Judge Alito is not qualified to serve on the Court from the perspective of laws and decisions regarding women’s rights or that have a special impact on women.”
Meanwhile, the matter of “Scooter” Libby was back in the news. Between 2003 and 2005, intense speculation centered on the possibility that Libby may have been the administration official who had “leaked” classified employment information about Valerie Plame, a covert Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent and the wife of Iraq War critic Joseph C. Wilson, to New York Times reporter Judith Miller and other reporters and later tried to hide his having done so.
In August 2005, as revealed in grand jury testimony audiotapes played during the trial and reported in many news accounts, Libby testified that he met with Judith Miller, a reporter with the New York Times, on July 8, 2003, and discussed Plame with her.
Although Scooter Libby signed a “blanket waiver” allowing journalists to discuss their conversations with him pursuant to the CIA leak grand jury investigation, Miller maintained that such a waiver did not serve to allow her to reveal her source to that grand jury; moreover, Miller argued that Libby’s general waiver pertaining to all journalists could have been coerced and that she would only testify before that grand jury if given an individual waiver.
After refusing to testify about her July 2003 meeting with Scooter Libby, Judith Miller was jailed on July 7, 2005, for contempt of court. Months later, however, her new attorney, Robert Bennett, told her that she already had possessed a written, voluntary waiver from Libby all along.
And in Detroit, a church packed with 4,000 mourners celebrated the life of Rosa Parks Wednesday in an impassioned, song-filled funeral, with a crowd of notables giving thanks for the humble woman whose dignity and defiance helped transform a nation.
An American flag was unfolded onto Rosa Parks’ wooden coffin at the end of the service, which lasted more than seven hours.
“The woman we honored today held no public office, she wasn’t a wealthy woman, didn’t appear in the society pages,” said Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. “And yet when the history of this country is written, it is this small, quiet woman whose name will be remembered long after the names of senators and presidents have been forgotten.”
The funeral, which stretched well past its three-hour scheduled time, followed a week of remembrances during which Rosa Parks’ coffin was brought from Detroit, where she died Oct. 24; to Montgomery, Ala., where she sparked the civil rights movement 50 years ago by refusing to give her bus seat to a white man; to Washington, where Rosa Parks became the first woman to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda.
All that, and a lot more for this November 5, 2005 as presented by The CBS World News Roundup; Late Edition.