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Fred blogs -- on judges and witches

From NBC's Joel Seidman
Candidate-in-waiting Fred Thompson, in another online blog posting on issues close to conservatives' hearts and minds, has now invoked the spirit of an unusual and long-lost accused Salem witch. That witch -- who was caught up in the Salem witch hunt some 300 years ago -- just happens to be a relative of a current Bush judicial nominee who is having trouble getting through Patrick Leahy's Judiciary Committee.

In his blog on "Imwithfred.com," Thompson recalls Judge Leslie Southwick's relative, Rebecca Nurse, who was hanged July 19, 1692. Thompson says Southwick, "is suffering through a witch hunt of a more modern variety" The judge has been nominated to fill a long-standing vacancy on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. And Senate Democrats are trying to put the kibosh on Southwick.

Democrats question Southwick's civil- and human-rights record, which they say make him unfit for a lifetime appointment to the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit. Republicans have argued, however, that Southwick has an exemplary record and that Democrats are fabricating excuses to oppose him.

Thompson laments, "Judge Southwick is just the latest in a long line of nominees for that bench to be delayed." And he adds, "Judge Southwick's reward for being a qualified judge, and by all accounts a good citizen, is a Senatorial inquisition meant to besmirch his professional and personal reputation."