Senate—Bush Places Anti-Gay on Bench
February 20, 2004
By Paul Johnson, 365Gay.com Newscenter, Washington Bureau
Washington, D.C.—Using the Senate
recess President Bush Friday installed Alabama Attorney General William Pryor
on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Pryor’s appointment had been held by Senate Democrats.
“A minority of Democratic senators has been using
unprecedented obstructionist tactics to prevent him and other qualified
nominees from receiving up-or-down votes,” Bush said. “Their tactics are
inconsistent with the Senate’s constitutional responsibility and are hurting
our judicial system.”
The maneuver was soundly condemned by gay civil rights
“We have no reason to believe that William Pryor—who
has shown time and again that he’s unable to separate his anti-gay beliefs
from his professional duties—will be able to serve as a federal judge
without bias,” said Human Rights Campaign President Cheryl Jacques.
As Alabama’s attorney general, Pryor linked the state
attorney general’s website to anti-GLBT groups, including the Family
Research Council and the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which
regularly litigates cases against GLBT rights.
Although most states with sodomy statutes on their books
did not file briefs in defense of their laws, Pryor filed an amicus (“friend
of the court”) brief in the Lawrence v.
Texas, the Supreme Court case challenging Texas’s sodomy law. Pryor’s
brief likens homosexuality to incest, necrophilia, pedophilia, prostitution
and adultery. He also argues in the brief that sodomy is a chosen behavior
unworthy of constitutional protection
“Mr. Pryor changed his vacation plans to avoid being at
Disney World during gay days. If he’s too prejudiced to share a 36,000-acre
theme park with openly gay couples and their families, he should not be
serving on a federal bench. It’s especially troubling that he’s been
appointed to the same court that’s been asked to rule on whether gays who
serve as foster parents should be able to legally adopt children they’ve
raised their entire lives.”
The recess appointment, which will last only until the
end of 2005, was the second Bush has used to sidestep Democrats who have
mounted successful filibusters against Pryor and five other appeals court
Last month, Bush used a similar appointment to promote
another anti-gay judge, Mississippi federal judge Charles Pickering, to the
5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.