22 October 2009

Casey Pick Rankles Some in W.Va. GOP (Updated)

Some West Virginia Republican leaders are objecting after the head of the state's majority Democrats was recommended for a federal judgeship, The Associated Press and others report.

They cite the partisan position and comments of Nick Casey as well as his ties to Gov. Joe Manchin. Casey had been Manchin's campaign treasurer and became Democratic Party chairman in mid-2004 after Manchin won the gubernatorial primary.

The longtime Charleston lawyer has also been dinged for his status as a lobbyist, with critics citing an Obama campaign pledge. "Obama had promised not to appoint Washington lobbyists to executive branch posts overseeing regulations or contracts directly related to their former employers," the AP article said. Besides the seat at issue hailing from the judicial branch, "Casey has lobbied the state Legislature," the article said.

U.S. Sens. Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller, both D-W.Va., jointly recommended Casey for a vacancy in the state's northern U.S. District Court (Charleston falls outside that district, another point of contention for critics). They stand by the pick.

"Through a spokesman, Byrd said Thursday said the negative comments by Republican partisans were unwarranted, and that he can attest to the content of Casey's character," AP reported.

The Charleston Gazette also has a story (updated: and reported that Rockefeller responded by calling Casey "a dedicated public servant and well-respected lawyer.")

MetroNews hears from Casey's GOP counterpart on the topic.

Update: A reader questions why Republicans have been criticizing a potential anti-abortion nominee to the federal judiciary, and also asks why that has not been part of the discussion.

Like Manchin, Casey is considered anti-abortion. As noted above, he also lobbies for the state's Roman Catholic diocese, a leading voice on that side of the abortion debate. He has helped the diocese participate in Pro-Life Day at the Legislature since at least 1993.

When Manchin won the 2004 nomination and Casey accepted the Democratic reins soon after, their stance on the issue prompted speculation that there would be "an effort to remove a pro-choice plank" from the party's platform, as The Charleston Gazette reported at the time.

That speculation returned during the crafting of the party's 2008 platform, as The Gazette and others reported.

While the 2004 platform says state Democrats "support decisions of the United States Supreme Court regarding the right of every woman to make choices regarding reproduction," the 2008 version does not appear to include that language. But it does say that "West Virginia Democrats believe that government, at every level, should not interfere with an individual's or family's right to make a personal or medical decision."

(Note: Some of the wording in the update has since been edited to conform to AP style.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another political hack as a lifetime appointee. A payoff for a career of partisanship.

As always in WV, it's not what you know, it's who.
The good ole boy network is alive and well.