Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), stood firm today in their opposition to Charles Pickering, Sr., the embattled judicial nominee for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Leahy, an attorney who has been in the Senate for 27 years, said he would not let the courts be polarized and cited the importance of an independent judiciary that will uphold the laws of the land. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), another member of the Senate judiciary committee, spoke of the need for the US Senate to both advise and consent, as outlined in the US Constitution, and not just simply consent. She also implored President Bush to stop polarizing the judicial nomination process with controversial nominees and suggested that he put forth moderate candidates that would more easily gain judicial committee approval. The final vote by committee regarding the Pickering nomination will take place next week.