On July 17, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on the nomination of Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor to the United States Court of Appeal for the Eleventh Circuit. The June 11 confirmation hearing for 11th Circuit nominee Bill Pryor did not shed much new light on Pryor’s already well-documented ideological extremism, but it did underscore that he is unfit for a lifetime seat on the federal appeals court. Senators must reject his confirmation.
Over a year ago C. Boyden Gray established the Committee for Justice “to offset the influence of People For the American Way” (Washington Post, July 23, 2002) and to lobby on behalf of President George W. Bush’s judicial nominations. A year later, after having witnessed several of Mr. Gray's antics, watched his two televisions ads attacking People For the American Way and seen media coverage of the Committee for Justice's fundraisers sponsored by members of the Bush family and allied corporate interests, two conclusions can be drawn...
Mr. Gray and the Committee for Justice have repeatedly stated that the filibusters of Miguel Estrada and Priscilla Owen are unprecedented and unconstitutional. These assertions are patently wrong. In fact, Boyden Gray himself, on John McLaughlin’s One on One program in 2001, stated “it was appropriate” for senators to mount a filibuster against an appellate judicial nominee, and that senators were “entitled to do it under the rules of the Senate.”
At the blockbuster end of the Supreme Court’s 2002-2003 Term, several close decisions helped distinguish the term as a monumental one for civil rights and civil liberties. According to a new analysis by People For the American Way Foundation of the Court’s key decisions in these areas, several rulings demonstrated how the Court’s divisions could spell disaster for these and other individual rights and protections if another right-wing justice or two joins the Court’s ranks.
The Supreme Court’s 2002-2003 Term underlined the importance of future nominations to the Court. The justices remain narrowly divided on a number of key issues concerning civil and constitutional rights, and came within one or two votes of adopting extreme positions advanced by Justices Thomas and Scalia in several important cases.