January 10, 2007

Reuters: (h/t E)

Backing away from a confrontation with Senate Democrats, President George W. Bush has decided to withdraw four appeals court nominations whose selections had met with resistance, the White House said on Tuesday.

The nominations of William Haynes, Michael Wallace, William Myers and Terrence Boyle will be withdrawn, said White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore.

Haynes's role as general counsel for the Department of Defense and in advising the Bush administration on the treatment of terror suspects had stirred controversy and Democrats had criticized the records of the other nominees on issues like civil rights and the environment.

I have to admit that Hayne's name flew under my radar, but this statement from Sen. Patrick Leahy seems to spell out why the Democrats would have scrutinized this appointment a little more than Bush would want.

I want to hear from Mr. Haynes what his role was in the debates over the interrogation and punishment of detainees, whether he shared Mr. Mora's horror at policies authorizing cruelty, and whether he stood up to others to try to put a stop to these policies. Public accounts suggest otherwise. They suggest that Mr. Haynes defended the Administration's authorization of cruel interrogation tactics, that he discounted the concerns of Mr. Mora and others, and that he personally recommended that Secretary Rumsfeld approve specific cruel interrogation techniques. His actions may have earned him a nomination from this President', but they have only heightened my concerns about this nomination.

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