Partisan Push for Pryor on Judiciary Committee Signals GOP Intention to Muscle Extremists onto Bench

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.

“If Senate rules are trashed so that the federal courts can be filled with judges like William Pryor, our constitutional system of checks and balances will be severely damaged,” said People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas. “And the ultimate losers will be the American people.”

Neas said Pryor has amassed a record of hostility toward the rights and interests of ordinary Americans, including attacks on the authority of Congress to prohibit discrimination and to protect the environment, separation of church and state, reproductive freedom, and equal protection of the laws for gay men and lesbians.

Neas said Pryor’s demonstrated intention to use the power of his office to push the law far to the right while sacrificing Americans’ rights, liberties, and interests has generated intense and widespread opposition to his confirmation.

“Republican leaders are making it clear why they are intent on abolishing the checks and balances that protect the independence of our federal judiciary,” said Neas. “They want to fill the bench with judges who will make the courts an extension of the political power now wielded by right-wing politicians.”

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