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For Immediate Release
February 26, 2002
Press Briefing Excerpt by Ari Fleischer 02/26/02
Q Ari, what about the Pickering nomination? It seems to be in trouble up on the Hill. Do you still stand by it? Are you thinking about withdrawing him?
MR. FLEISCHER: No. If you recall, the last briefing I gave when the Senate recessed as the President was preparing to depart for Asia, I said at that time that the President believes in Judge Pickering and will fight for Judge Pickering, and that is exactly what he intends to do. The President has utmost confidence in Judge Pickering. And I think what you're seeing is an unfortunate part of the politization of the way judges, circuit court judges are picked in this country.
Judge Pickering received a well-qualified rating from the American Bar Association, and that is something the Democrats, who like to follow the judgments of the American Bar Association, have said previously was a gold standard, that they would review -- that they would use in reviewing judicial nominations.
So the President continues to have every bit of confidence in Judge Pickering, and will continue to support him and urge his passage.
Q What does the fight for Pickering mean? What does that fight mean? Is the President going to pick up the phone and call people and say, look, this is my choice, stand by him?
MR. FLEISCHER: April, I think he'll just make an assessment at the appropriate time about what that means, or what level of activity he will personally engage in. He'll just make that call as it gets closer.