Judiciary Committee Postpones Vote on Far-Right Extremist Nominee
In a move demonstrating discord over his nomination, the Senate Judiciary Committee postponed a vote scheduled for today on the nomination of far-right extremist William Pryor to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Pryor, who continues to assert that Roe v. Wade is "the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history," is one of Bush's most troubling nominees in the President's continued efforts to stack the courts with far-right ideologues. Because the federal circuit courts are the court of last resort for 99 percent of federal cases, Pryor, only 41 years old, would have a lasting effect for generations to come as a lifetime appointee to what is already considered the most conservative circuit court in the country.
At his confirmation hearing last month, Pryor promised to set aside his personal and political views if confirmed. What Pryor's record indicates is that he translates these so-called personal political views into his judicial philosophy as well. Pryor is a leader in the states' rights movement, which advocates that the federal government not have the constitutional right to make or enforce laws protecting women's rights, civil rights, abortion rights, gay rights, and the environment. This movement argues that the courts should overturn such laws.
According to the Florida Sun-Sentinel, Pryor supporters argue he is controversial because he stands up for the Constitution as written and that judges should be challenging the "supposed" right to privacy, racial diversity and environmental protection. Further demonstrating that Pryor would not set aside such beliefs and that it is actually his goal to change the federal legal landscape, Pryor remarked the day after the US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to resolve the 2000 presidential election saying, "I'm probably the only one who wanted it 5-4. I wanted (President-elect Bush) to have a full appreciation of the judiciary and judicial selection so we can have no more appointments like Justice [David] Souter." Justice Souter has drawn the ire of conservatives since being appointed to the court by Bush's father, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
The Feminist Majority joins a large coalition of women's rights, civil rights, environmental, church-state separation, disability, and lesbian and gay rights groups - including even the gay Republican Log Cabin group - in opposing Pryor.
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