Myers Narrowly Approved by Judiciary Committee

Extremely troubling nominee pushed in face of intense opposition, reflects GOP strategy to provoke filibusters in search of excuse for going 'nuclear'

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals nominee William G. Myers III, whose nomination to a lifetime position on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit was blocked in the Senate last year, was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee today on a party-line vote.

“William Myers’ thin qualifications, ideological extremism, and questionable behavior as a public official make it clear that he should be kept off the federal bench,” said People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas.

Neas said the renomination of Myers and other nominees blocked by Senate filibusters last year was evidence of President Bush’s decision to choose confrontation over consultation and compromise on judicial nominations. He said Republican leaders’ decision to push extremely controversial nominees is part of a larger political strategy to dismantle checks and balances in the Senate before a Supreme Court vacancy.

“Republican leaders are deliberately provoking filibusters,” said Neas, “and they will claim that those filibusters are evidence of a ‘crisis’ that justifies their radical and destructive ‘nuclear option.’ But there is no justification for destroying the role of the Senate in our system of checks and balances. This vote is one part of an unprincipled scheme to create unchecked one-party rule.”

Myers’ hostility to environmental protections and his record as a public official have generated intense and unprecedented opposition to his confirmation by environmental and Native American organizations. The Ninth Circuit includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, states that contain many of America’s natural treasures.

People For the American Way published an in-depth report on Myers’ record last year, and, in cooperation with Earthjustice and Community Rights Counsel, published an additional report following Myers’ confirmation hearing. Neas said those reports document that Myers has demonstrated a dangerous legal philosophy that would sharply narrow the power of Congress to protect the rights of Americans. For example, Myers has said that there is “no constitutional basis” for federal authority to protect wetlands under the Clean Water Act.

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