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Friday, March 10, 2006

Schadenfreude, Thy Name is Allen

Some of CCM's 3 readers may remember the case of Claude Allen. Having been a player in the Virginia state government (if memory serves, he ran their welfare department), Allen became DepSec of the US Department of HHS when George W. Bush took (and I do mean took) office in 2001. In 2003, Allen was nominated to sit on the US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. Back then, Democrats ran the Senate, and his nomination never got a vote.

During the period between Allen's nomination and his nomination's eventual lapse, Allen's GOP supporters made some noise about how Democrats were opposing Allen because he was black rather than because of his judicial qualifications, temperament, etc. [Update: an informed source has explained to me that the initial opposition to Allen among Senate Dems was due to a dispute over which states should get 4th Circuit seats---Allen is from Virginia, whereas Maryland's Democratic senators wanted a Maryland native appointed. I don't know how much of the later opposition was substantive. My understanding is that such disputes are not uncommon.] For instance, Peter Kirstanow wrote on NRO that
Special vituperation, however, seems to be reserved for minority nominees suspected of being pro-life. Estrada, Rogers Brown, Claude Allen, and Levanski Smith were/are among these apostates. Pro-life minority nominees represent the perfect storm for Left-leaning opposition groups: non-conformist role models from the Left’s most reliable voting blocs who may one day be in a position to reconsider Roe v. Wade. Better to filibuster them than to have a televised debate on the Senate floor that might raise interesting and useful questions concerning the merits of monolithic minority support for one party or an unyielding defense of Roe.
And here's what C. Boyden Gray, who's been leading the charge for activist, axe-grinding Bush nominees in the most ad hominem of ways, had to say about Allen on July 7, 2004:
Claude Allen promises not to advance a political agenda from the federal bench he has been nominated to, but to be the type of judge who buttresses the foundation of American government — by applying the rule of law however he finds it. President Bush, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, could do much worse than Allen. By the grace of democratic principles overriding a minority in the Senate, let us hope they do not have to.
"The type of judge who...appl[ies] the rule of law however he finds it."

Turns out he applies the "possesion is nine-tenths of the" rule of law on all sorts of things he finds:
When Claude Allen, President Bush's longtime domestic-policy adviser, resigned suddenly on Feb. 9, it baffled administration critics and fans. The White House claimed that Allen was leaving to spend more time with his family....

News today may shed light on the mystery of Allen's resignation. According to the Montgomery County Police Department, Allen was arrested yesterday and charged in a felony theft and a felony theft scheme. According to a department press release, Allen conducted approximately 25 fraudulent "refunds" in Target and Hecht's stores in Maryland. On Jan. 2, a Target employee apprehended Allen after observing him receive a refund for merchandise he had not purchased. Target then contacted the Montgomery County Police. According to a source familiar with the case, Target and the police had been observing Allen since October 2005.
See this Slate article for more.

Can't help but notice that as recently as February 9, 2006, Andrew T. Hyman, blogging at ConfirmThem, wrote
Rumor has it that Milan Smith is the leading prospect to succeed Judge Tashima in the Ninth Circuit. Regarding a successor for Judge Murnaghan in the Fourth Circuit, I hope that UVA Law Professor Caleb Nelson will be considered, as well as Claude Allen who was previously nominated for that seat.
I wonder if Mr. Hyman is still hoping....I also wonder if Boyden Gray still thinks Claude Allen is the right sort of Judge for America. You know, private property rights and all---usually kind of a key factor for the sorts of charming, well-dressed millionaire supporters of President Bush whom Robert Novak likes to lionize.


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