Court Questions Bush Anti-Gay Judicial Appointment
The Associated Press, July
Atlanta, Georgia—A federal
appeals court is asking the Bush administration to defend the president’s
appointment of a judge to its ranks while the U.S. Senate was out of session.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Atlanta,
has asked the Justice Department to intervene in a case contesting the
appointment of former Alabama attorney general William Pryor to that court.
Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and others are backing a
challenge asking the court to rule that the appointment was unconstitutional.
Bush appointed Pryor in February during a one-week recess
of the Senate, which must confirm judicial nominees. The Constitution gives
the president the right to appoint judges directly when Congress is not in
But Kennedy and others argue that right is valid only at
the end of a Congress or during the recess between annual sessions, not during
“It’s hard to imagine a more flagrant attempt by the
president to bypass the constitutional requirement of Senate consent in
appointing a federal judge,” Kennedy said in a written statement.
Democrats had blocked Pryor’s confirmation, citing his
criticism of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade abortion decision. He was also
criticized for a Supreme Court brief in which he compared homosexual acts to
“prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child
pornography and even incest and pedophilia.”
As Attorney General Pryor filed an amicus (“friend of
the court”) brief in the Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court case
challenging Texas’s sodomy law in which he made the comparisons.
He also argues in the brief that sodomy is a chosen
behavior unworthy of constitutional protection, and fails to recognize GLBT
individuals as people worthy of the same constitutional rights and protections
that other Americans take for granted.
Kennedy raised a legal challenge in June, but the court
said he missed a filing deadline.
He is now backing a challenge to Pryor raised as part of
a civil rights case involving college students who were strip-searched after
being stopped by police in Georgia.
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