By JONATHAN MILLER
CHARLESTON -- Lobbyist and Democratic Party Chairman Nick Casey as a federal judge is the making of West Virginia's next Mike Garrison.
Casey is being recommended by Senators Byrd and Rockefeller to replace the late W. Craig Broadwater on the U.S. District Court for West Virginia's Northern District.
Cronyism made for a bad university president in Mike Garrison, and it will make for a bad federal judge in Nick Casey.
Nick Casey's only qualification to be appointed judge is that he's a lawyer. Other than that, he has no business being on the bench.
Judges need to be fair, impartial, and respect the rule of law.
What in Nick Casey's record suggests he is these things?
Not much. Nick Casey has been a deeply partisan and divisive political figure in West Virginia.
Casey is currently a lobbyist and Chairman of the West Virginia Democratic Party where he has made brutal statements about Republicans and their supporters.
One example is when he said the list of donors to Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito "makes people's skin crawl."
Disagreements on policy and issues are one thing. Deeply partisan and divisive personal attacks are another. The latter doesn't belong in the judiciary.
If Casey becomes a judge, I fear that any Republican or supporter of a Republican will be unable to get a fair hearing.
I don't see how anyone can come to the conclusion after looking at Casey's record that he will be a fair, impartial judge who respects the rule of law.
Bill Powell, the first recommendation for this judicial vacancy and Martinsburg resident, should already be wearing his robe. He has a great record and would make a great judge.
Powell works for Jackson Kelly, one of West Virginia's largest law firms. He is well-respected by his peers, both liberal and conservative. His work and his career confirm that he would be fair, impartial, and respect the rule of law.
Byrd and Rockefeller held up Powell's confirmation to the federal bench for about two years. Powell was recommended after Judge Broadwater passed away in late 2006 during the final years of the Bush Administration.
Apparently, our U.S. Senators bought time until the 2008 Election by not allowing Powell to be confirmed. It seemed they hoped a Democrat would win the presidency in 2008 allowing them to recommend and confirm a Democrat of their choice, which is exactly what has happened.
All the while a backlog of cases was being built while the Northern District waited for an official judicial appointment.
The Northern District should have a new federal judge already, and that judge should be Bill Powell.
Unfortunately, cronyism is getting in the way.
The only reason the Chairman of the Democratic Party is being recommended for a federal judgeship is because of cronyism.
Casey, in addition to being Democratic Party Chair, was Governor Joe Manchin's personal lawyer and is a lobbyist for Mylan Inc.
The connection to Manchin and Mylan alone gives you enough clout to weasel your way into any position, no matter how ill qualified you are.
Just look at the selection of Mike Garrison as West Virginia University President.
Garrison had almost no qualifications for that job except that he was a crony of Gov. Joe Manchin and Mylan Inc.
The similarities between Mike Garrison's selection as WVU President and Casey's recommendation for a spot on the federal bench are striking.
One thing is for sure. Cronyism is alive and well in West Virginia.
The problem with cronyism is we (taxpayers and regular, hard-working West Virginians) lose while they (cronies in power) win. In this case, the "they" is the Democrat establishment like Manchin, Casey, Mylan, etc.
They will keep doing it because they can get away with it.
Until we stand up to this blatant cronyism, we will never change West Virginia for the better.
Miller, a Republican, has served as a delegate for southern Berkeley County since being elected in 2006. Currently, Miller serves as a ranking member on the Health and Human Resources Committee in the capacity as Minority Vice-Chair.