Vol. 17, No. 1 February 4, 2005

** ** ** ADA Social Security Forum Save the Date: ADA Convention Judicial Nominations
STATE OF DISUNION The President’s State of the Union address this week provided high flowing rhetoric with very little in the way of reality. Wrapped in the obligatory flag of deception, the President’s address presented several alarming indicators for the months and years to come as he laid out his assault on Social Security, gay rights, and liability lawsuits among other things. Particularly low blows were aimed at asbestos related disease sufferers and homosexuals. The mathematics involved in his pledge to cut the budget deficit in half by 2009 is also alarming. By pushing forward on making permanent previous tax cuts for primarily the wealthy coupled with limiting budget cuts to “discretionary” spending (largely social and domestic spending), the President and his Congressional cohorts are likely to slash funding for vital programs such as education, Medicaid, and environmental regulation. The President also spent a fair amount of time playing the Social Security shell game. By incorrectly portraying Social Security as a “crisis” and on the verge of “bankruptcy,” he has launched his assault on the economic security of Americans that has been guaranteed for 70 years. Let us not forget that the lower benefits that will be the product of his Social Security scam not only alter the retirement security of Americans but also the security of survivors and the disabled that gain valuable assistance each month from the program. And all of this was intertwined in the larger smoke screen of freedom. The President and his speechwriters delight in whipping up patriotic fervor to hide the mean-spirited policies they support. The use of bellicose language in setting the tone for foreign policy does nothing to make the United State or the World safer from terrorism. It does nothing to make us more secure at home or respected by our would-be allies around the World. Macho rhetoric may work great in pumping you up on the campaign trail, but now it’s time to actually run the country and participate in the global community. This address was the State of the Union but its message was one of disunion. Our task is before us; we, as liberals, must hold this Administration accountable for its mistakes and hold back the tide of regressive and reactionary policy. Capitol Hill Switchboard (202) 224-3121 ADA’s Legislative Department (202) 785-5980 Capitol Hill Postal Mail Senator/Representative Senate or House Office Bldg. Washington, DC for Senate: 20510 for House: 20515 Specific Contact Information including Address, Phone, Fax, and Email can be found at: Senate: House:

AMERICANS FOR DEMOCRATIC ACTION (ADA) Presents THURSDAY FORUMS Room HC6 (Capitol Building) Directions: Enter through House or Senate wings; proceed to the Rotunda; then take the stairs to lower level. 2:00pm Thursday, February 10, 2005 RECLAIMING THE AMERICAN DREAM PART 1: SOCIAL SECURITY Featuring Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA), ADA National President Dean Baker, Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research Barbara Kennelly, President, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare James Roosevelt, Jr., former Associate Commissioner of Social Security for Retirement Policy Please Plan To Join Us This forum is the first in a new ADA series of forums to be held on a wide range of issues and are scheduled to take place the first Thursday of each month when Congress is in session.

Quote of the Week
“These very narrow arguments on legal niceties totally miss the point. None of those justify saying he has given America a black eye in terms of torture, and if he is Attorney General, we approve of this kind of person, that would be part of such activity. That has got to be nonsense.” Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) on the nomination of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General “Now, some have talked about the legal memos he was involved in as legal niceties. Well, Mr. President, torture is not a legal nicety, especially if you are the person being tortured.” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in response. JUDICIAL NOMINEE OVERVIEW President Bush continues to take an extremist approach to federal judicial nominations and the nominees themselves haven’t changed all that much. His slate of nominees is largely a resubmission of controversial candidates from the past. It hardly looks like a President trying to fulfill his post-election promises of uniting the country. Among the federal nominees being resubmitted are Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen, Department of Defense Counsel William Haynes, North Carolina District Judge Terrance Boyle, General Counsel of Brigham Young University Thomas B. Griffith, Alabama Attorney William H. Pryor, and California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown. There has been no new light shed upon the qualifications of these nominees that would make us change our position on them. That makes it all the more outrageous that President Bush is rehashing these candidates. Justice Owen, up for the appointment to the US Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit, has dismissed suits by workers for discrimination and injury. She repeatedly voted to throw out jury verdicts against corporations and has acted above the law on choice issues. Department of Defense Counsel Haynes has demonstrated how he wants to curtail civil liberties and has shown no impartiality on labor and environmental issues. Judge Boyle is a right-wing judicial activist who has ignored precedents and has shown disregard for the will of the Congress. He has been reversed over 120 times by the Fourth Circuit, an extremely high rate. General Counsel Griffith’s views suggest that he may not be willing to uphold central civil rights statutes. Attorney Pryor’s record of hostility toward civil rights and his leadership in the “states’ rights” movement makes him an unacceptable candidate as well. Finally, Justice Brown’s record as a state judge should raise questions about her willingness to uphold equal justice. These federal judicial nominees were strongly opposed in the past and will remain so. It is appalling that President Bush thinks he can put these blatantly partisan candidates again. ADAction: Contact your Senators. Urge them to examine judicial nominees with great care and to reject extremism. Reported by ADA Intern Dan Yanulavich ADAers PARTY IN PROTEST: GATHERING MOMENTUM FOR UPCOMING BATTLES ADAers and liberal supporters gathered in Washington, DC for the ADA Counter-Inaugural on January 20th. Several hundred activists were inspired by the words of Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), ADA President, and the music of the Oxymorons. Click Here to the a story about the event from the Washington Post.

ADAers including ADA Executive Committee member Elaine Newman (right) enjoying the ADA Counter-Inaugural

It’s never too early to mark your calendars.
ADA Board Member Hans Johnson (left) joins ADA President Rep. Jim McDermot t (D-WA) at the Counter-Inaugural Gala, Jan. 20, in DC. McDermott, a Navy veteran and star of the 2004 film Fahrenheit 9-11, had just led a moment of silence to commemorate armed service members overseas and later unleashed a stemwinder that drew the crowd of 300 to its feet. (Thanks Hans, for the photo and the description)

The 2005 ADA National Conference and Convention will be held in Washington, DC June 23-26th at the Georgetown Holiday Inn. More information and the opportunity to preregister will be coming soon.

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