The courts of appeal play a critical role in our federal judicial system, second in importance only to the Supreme Court. Particularly because the Supreme Court hears so few cases, the protection of civil and constitutional rights by the judiciary depends in large measure on the appellate courts. The public record concerning Judge Pickering as documented above does not support Pickering's elevation to the court of appeals. Far from meeting the burden to demonstrate a record of commitment to civil and constitutional rights, his record shows insensitivity and hostility toward key principles protecting the civil and constitutional rights of minorities, women, and all Americans. Especially in the Fifth Circuit, which has already issued a number of troubling decisions on civil and constitutional rights, adding another judge like Judge Pickering poses a grave danger to our rights and liberties. His nomination should be rejected.