Sen. Patrick Leahy, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee puts this statement in the record: “Publicly available documents, including court docket sheets and Judge Boyle’s financial disclosure forms, appear to support the public reports that Judge Boyle ruled in multiple cases in which he held stock in one party…These matters used to be investigated in a bipartisan way. In fact, after these developments were reported in the media, the seven Democratic members in the group that helped avert the Republican “nuclear option” wrote a letter asking for a new hearing to look into the conflict of interest allegations. I regret that the Republican leadership is apparently determined not to allow a bipartisan investigation to be completed and determined not to hold the follow-up hearing.….If this nomination is not withdrawn, and the Republican leadership is determined to move forward with this nomination in response to right-wing pressure groups, issues arising from Judge Boyle’s many alleged conflicts of interest can be best addressed in a hearing, where Senators can ask questions of the nominee, listen to his answers, and assess the credibility of his explanations regarding the conflicts. That is our process. There is no reason to depart from it now.”
Legal Times’ T.R. Goldman quotes an unidentified Senate GOP staff counsel saying, “We found five cases in which there were strict technical violations in which Boyle should have recused himself…But they were administrative oversights. He ruled in over 16,000 cases; these five slipped through the cracks.”
Majority Leader Bill Frist and Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter write to Judge Boyle, offering him the “opportunity to respond in writing.” They write, “As you know, questions recently surfaced about your participation in cases in which you may have had a financial interest. We believe you deserve the opportunity to address these issues directly, as well as any other matter that you believe merits further explanation or clarification.”
Also, North Carolina Republican Senators Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr write a “Dear Colleague” letter saying that an examination of the conflicts documented by CIR “shows that any alleged breach by Judge Boyle was inadvertent, minor, and, in a number of instances, totally non-existent. Moreover, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that Judge Boyle knowingly heard a case in which he had a conflict of interest, used his office for personal gain, or abused the trust of the people he was appointed to serve.”
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The Hill’s Alexander Bolton reports that “despite a likely fatal lack of support among the Republicans in the Gang of 14, conservative activists this week pushed hard to move the forlorn nomination of Judge Terrence Boyle.” Some Republicans in the Gang were ready to sign the letter asking for another hearing for Boyle, but were pressured to keep quiet by Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH), who faces a tough fight for reelection, the Hill reports. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he would also support a second hearing for Boyle to address the conflicts of interest. According to the story, “A senior GOP aide said the Senate could vote on Boyle during July or after the August recess. The Senate Republican leadership is testing Boyle’s support but does not want a floor vote it cannot win, the aide said.” Meanwhile, the White House doesn’t appear to be fully committed to Boyle, the Hill explains: “The White House also has not responded to requests for information on Boyle’s financial interests from conservative groups seeking to defend the nominee.”
Five of Boyle’s former law clerks write a letter to the Wall Street Journal: “Sen. Bill Frist should proceed promptly with a vote as previously promised, taking the fight to the floor if necessary to rebut the erroneous claims. Otherwise, the appellate confirmation process will spiral downward into the realm of cheap politics and personal attacks.”
Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter’s staff announces multiple briefings to be held each day throughout the week on Boyle’s conflicts of interest, for all interested Senate staff. The Hill later reported that staffers from about 40 Senate offices met with committee staff.
A Wall Street Journal editorial addressed Boyle’s chances: “Democrats now say they’ll filibuster his nomination. They are distorting a couple of Judge Boyle’s civil rights decisions and making conflict-of-interest allegations that add up at worst to minor infractions. But Republicans don’t want a fight in an election year over race or ethics. And Judge Boyle’s onetime Senate champion — Jesse Helms — has long since retired. A controversial nominee without an angel to guide him through today’s polarized Senate is in trouble.”
The Hill’s Alexander Bolton reports that “White House officials are making a concerted effort to cooperate with outside conservative groups to support and defend President Bush’s nominees to the federal bench, and they are also planning to work more closely with the Senate on confirming the nominees.” According to Bolton, “the Department of Justice is crafting a memo on Boyle’s conduct as a judge.” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) told The Hill that he met with Boyle and a White House aide “in a meeting he said he assumed was set up by the administration.”
The Committee for Justice circulates talking points minimizing Judge Boyle’s conflicts of interest and comparing them to those of Supreme Court Justices: “Dems Use Alleged Conflict Of Interest Charges Against Circuit Court Nominee Terrence Boyle, Ignore Conflict Of Interest Questions Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg And Stephen Breyer Faced.” The Hill later reports that the talking points “were written in the signature style of the White House and its ally the Republican National Committee.”