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franklin county times

Pickering says dad's nomination not linked to Lott's problems

By By William F. West / community editor
Dec. 18, 2002
U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering said his father's nomination to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals should not be linked to debate over Trent Lott's future as Senate majority leader.
Pickering, the 3rd District congressman, also said Tuesday he believes Lott is not racist despite comments the senator made that the nation would be better off if then-segregationist Strom Thurmond was elected president in 1948.
Lott, who is set to become Republican majority leader of the Senate in January, now finds himself and his job under fire because of the comments he made Dec. 5 at Thurmond's 100th birthday party.
Although Lott has repeatedly apologized for his remarks, some fellow Senate Republicans are now questioning his ability to lead the party and the Senate next year.
In addition, some have questioned whether the Senate should reconsider Charles Pickering's nomination to the 5th Circuit. Pickering is a judge on the U.S. District Court for Southern Mississippi.
Both Lott and President Bush have made clear they want the judge to be promoted to the 5th Circuit bench.
In March, when the Democrats controlled the Senate, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee blocked Judge Pickering's nomination by a 10-9 vote on grounds that he was too conservative.
Some Democrats and other critics also say the judge is insensitive to minorities a claim his son, Chip Pickering, strongly denies.

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