White House Puts Politics First, Constitution Last With Appalling Recess Appointment Of Bill Pryor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 20, 2004

Contact: Nathan Richter and Priscilla Ring at People For the American Way

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: 202/467-4999

Extremist Nominee Named to Appeals Court Despite Intense Opposition in Senate

Washington – The White House announced on Friday that President Bush has made a recess appointment of Attorney General William Pryor of Alabama to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Pryor’s nomination had stalled in the Senate due to strong widespread opposition to his confirmation.

Statement by People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas on the Recess Appointment of William Pryor:

President Bush keeps finding new ways to demonstrate his contempt for our system of checks and balances and his disrespect for the Senate’s constitutional role of advise and consent on nominations to the federal courts, not to mention Americans’ fundamental rights and liberties. It is hard to recall another president who has been so willing to treat the federal judiciary as a partisan political weapon.

The questionable recess appointment of William Pryor is unfortunately only the latest in a series of moves by the Bush White House calculated to create political confrontation over judges rather than genuine bipartisan dialogue and cooperation. Apparently White House political strategists have decided that the president needs to shore up his disgruntled political base, and that an in-your-face appointment of a right-wing ideologue to the federal bench will help rally the troops.

Unfortunately, Americans, especially those living in the 11th Circuit, may have to live with the consequences of Bush’s action. Pryor’s record demonstrates that he is committed to using the power of his office to push the law far to the right while sacrificing Americans’ rights, liberties, and interests. He 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.

President Bush is dedicated to packing the courts with right-wing judges who will turn back the clock on equal rights, privacy and reproductive freedom, environmental protection and much of the social justice progress we have made in the past half-century. Senators must continue to resist the confirmation of people like William Pryor to lifetime positions on the federal courts.