President Bush bowed this week to opposition from Lindsey Graham and other senators, declining to renominate the Pentagonâ€™s top lawyer to the federal appellate court that oversees South Carolina.
Bushâ€™s decision not to send the Senate the nomination of William Haynes to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals acknowledges new political realities with a Democratic-controlled Congress.
The decision also is a victory for Graham, R-SC, a military lawyer who opposed Haynesâ€™ appointment because of Haynesâ€™ role as Defense Department general counsel in formulating tough interrogation techniques for accused terrorist detainees.
In a Dec. 19 letter to Bush, obtained Tuesday by McClatchy Newspapers, Haynes asked the president to withdraw his name from consideration.
Haynes was one of four controversial judicial nominees Bush chose not to renominate. The others were Terrence Boyle, William Myers and Michael Wallace.
PELOSI BANS SMOKING IN SPEAKERâ€™S LOBBY
Smokers may be one minority in Congress with even fewer rights than newly demoted Republicans. Now theyâ€™re losing one of their last, cherished prerogatives â€” a smoke break in the ornate Speakerâ€™s Lobby just off the House floor.
New House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced a ban Wednesday.
â€œThe days of smoke-filled rooms in the United States Capitol are over,â€ Pelosi said. â€œMedical science has unquestionably established the dangerous effects of secondhand smoke, including an increased risk of cancer and respiratory diseases. I am a firm believer that Congress should lead by example.â€
Lawmakers will still be free to light up in their own offices.
HIGH COURT WEIGHS UNION DISPUTE
Supreme Court justices indicated Wednesday they are inclined to uphold a Washington state law restricting unions from using workersâ€™ fees for political activities.
The case involves a few thousand teachers and other education employees who are in the bargaining unit of the more than 70,000-member Washington Education Association â€” but who have chosen not to join the union.
The Washington Supreme Court struck down the law, but several justices said Wednesday that the law did not strike them as burdensome.