01 Feb 2004 Take Care of Your Foot Soldiers! by Mychal Massie
Conservative leaders have slain one of their loyal foot soldiers – senior staff aide to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), Manuel Miranda – in a vain attempt to appease their liberal counterparts.
In a since-leaked April 17, 2002 memo, Senate Judiciary Committee member Ted Kennedy (D-MA) was apprised that Elaine Jones, the president and director-counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, had marching orders.
Jones allegedly wanted Kennedy to “schedule Julia Scott Gibbons, the uncontroversial nominee to the 6th Circuit at a later date, rather than at a hearing [the] next Thursday, April 25th.”
If the memo had stopped there, while tantamount to skullduggery, it would not have been calculatingly pernicious. The reason for said request (read d-i-r-e-c-t-i-v-e) was the “University of Michigan case regarding the constitutionality of affirmative action in higher education is decided by the same 6th Circuit.”
Jones’ stated reasoning for the delay was that “the current Circuit will sustain the affirmative action program, but if a new judge with conservative views [was] confirmed before the case [was] decided, the new judge [would] be able, under 6th Circuit rules, to review the case and vote on it.” Jones apparently wasn’t taking chances on the case not going her way.
Jones got her wish. The hearing was rescheduled, but not without reservation. The memo indicated staffers were “a little concerned about the propriety of scheduling hearings based on the resolution of a particular case.” In brief, they were fully cognizant that their actions were ethically suspect. The memo further read, “We are also aware that the 6th Circuit is in dire need of additional judges. Nevertheless we recommend that Gibbons be scheduled for a later hearing; the Michigan case is important.”
A complaint filed by conservative groups, including Project 21, with the Virginia State Bar in regard to Jones’ actions resulted in her subsequent resignation from her NAACP-L.D.F. position. The complaint charged she knew her actions “transgressed the boundary of an ethical advocate and engaged in misconduct by violating clear rules regarding their duties to maintain the impartiality and decorum of the tribunal” (Rule 3.5, Virginia State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct).
Jones has not admitted any wrongdoing, but it easy to suspect the timing of her resignation is no coincidence.
But rather than concentrate on the clear and unambiguous ethical violations, the subversion of Senate Judiciary Committee’s proceedings, the violation of public trust, the influence that liberal race-biased groups exert over this important Senate committee and how Elaine Jones – the lawyer pleading the Michigan case – could have known ahead of time the outcome of said case. Liberal senators, aided and abetted by the lack of conservative leadership, embarked on a $500,000 taxpayer-funded witch hunt.
Manuel Miranda, the most effective Senate tactician in the battle for the President’s judicial nominees, was the target. He was compelled by his superiors to resign his position with Frist to appease the obstructionists.
Purposely overlooked and unreported is the fact that the computer flaw that made the memos public was common knowledge. The memos were stored on a shared computer network used by Judiciary staffers of both parties according to a design put in place by the Democrats when they ran the committee. Liberal staffers neglected to erect a firewall or password-protect their documents. They were also told to keep confidential information on their hard drives.
While Kennedy and other obstructionists spittle and foment erroneously about conservative misconduct, the ethical treason discovered within their own ranks remains unaddressed.
Conservatives, in a misguided attempt at propriety, are singularly responsible for permitting the character assassination and the forcibly coerced resignation of a loyal foot soldier. It once again proves that, according to liberal tradition, when caught with your hands in the cookie jar have the conservatives hang their own.