The Senate Judiciary Committee split along partisan lines today as it voted 10 to 8 to advance North Carolina District Court judge Terrence Boyle’s Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals nomination.
A troubling record on discrimination and serious ethical lapses involving practicing law with a suspended license in the District of Columbia and practicing law in Utah without a Utah license– were not enough to keep Thomas Griffith from a lifetime appointment to the powerful Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, as the former Senate legal counsel was confirmed on an 73-24 vote in the Senate today.
Just a day after giving Janice Rogers Brown a lifetime seat on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. Senate confirmed William Pryor, another activist right-wing ideologue, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. For the first time, three Republican senators voted against a Bush appellate court nominee.
People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas Wednesday expressed deep disappointment at the confirmation of Texan Priscilla Owen to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, in the first confirmation vote since a compromise was reached to avoid the detonation of the “nuclear option” on filibustering judicial nominees in the Senate.
The explicit language of the agreement reached tonight by a group of senators rejects the nuclear option, preserves the filibuster and ensures that both political parties will have a say in who is appointed to our highest courts. The agreement embodies the very principle of consultation and consensus that the filibuster encourages. This is good news for the American people.
At a news conference this afternoon addressing the nuclear option, African American Ministers in Action Chair Rev. Timothy McDonald made the following statement in response to claims that racism and sexism are behind opposition to the Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown nominations:
“I want to directly address some of the charges that have already been made by several prominent figures on the right and that may well be repeated by the ministers I know will be gathering later this afternoon to talk about Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown.
People For the American Way Foundation will launch three new ads in the television battle over the filibuster, as the clash over the 200-year-old Senate practice nears a historic vote.
The three ads are targeted to moderate Senate Republicans considered key to the outcome of the battle in Pennsylvania, Alaska and Maine, and will begin airing in those markets, Washington, DC and on national cable television on Sunday and Monday.
The Senate Judiciary Committee today gave approval to appeals court nominee William Pryor, who was given a recess appointment in February 2004 after his nomination failed to win Senate approval in the last Congress. Pryor joins several other previously blocked nominees that Republican leaders are bringing to the Senate floor in advance of a threatened maneuver to break Senate rules that have prevented the president’s most controversial nominees from getting confirmed to lifetime positions on the powerful federal appeals courts.
As a new ad hits the airwaves to build support for Republican leaders’ threats to break Senate rules, People For the American Way is firing back with its own ad defending the filibuster as an important part of our system of checks and balances.
The new PFAW ad reminds viewers that more than 200 of President Bush’s judicial nominees – more than 95 percent – have been confirmed, and that the threatened “nuclear option” is about its proponents’ desire for unchecked power.