In Richmond v. Mississippi Dept. of Human Services, Southwick joined the 5-4 majority that upheld the reinstatement of a white social worker who was fired for calling a black employee a "good ole n****."
"[T]he opinion that Southwick joined accepted without any skepticism Richmond's testimony that her use of the racial slur was ‘not motivated out of racial hatred or animosity directed at her co-worker or toward blacks in general, but was, rather, intended to be a shorthand description of her perception of the relationship existing between the [co]-worker and [a Department of Human Services] supervisor,'" said Ralph G. Neas, president of the People for the American Way (PFAW) and Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), in a May 8 letter
of opposition to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
The four dissenting judges in Richmond recognized this as a faulty argument and a threat to civil rights: "The word "n****" is, and has always been, offensive. […] There are some words, which by their nature and definition are so inherently offensive, that their use establishes the intent to offend." The dissenting opinion was confirmed when the Mississippi Supreme Court unanimously overturned Richmond.
In another case, S.B. v. L.W., Southwick joined the 5-4 majority that denied a woman custody of her child. The majority considered the sexual orientation of the mother to be a legitimate factor in deciding custody.
But Judge Southwick even went further by joining a concurrence which held that homosexuality is a "choice that bears consequences." As PFAW and HRC stated, "the concurrence appears to have been written for the sole purpose of underscoring and defending Mississippi's hostility toward gay people and what it calls ‘the practice of homosexuality.'"
Unfortunately for blacks and gays in the 5th Circuit, Judge Southwick is likely to be confirmed by the Senate.