Renominates Embattled Judges
February 16, 2005
By Ann Rostow
SUMMARY: President Bush has renominated 12 of his
selections for the federal appellate courts, including several jurists
considered hostile to the goals of the LGBT rights movement.
President Bush has renominated 12 of his selections for
the federal appellate courts, including several jurists considered hostile to
the goals of the LGBT rights movement.
The move is based on the hope that slightly better GOP
numbers in the Senate, combined with a post-election spirit of accommodation,
might let a few of these previously rejected nominees squeak through the
confirmation process. Seven were the victims of Democrat filibusters in the
past, while the other five were stalled by the minority party.
The most objectionable name on the list, argue some LGBT
leaders, is William Pryor, the former attorney general of Alabama who profited
from a stealth appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
when Congress was on break last year. Pryor must now be confirmed by the same
Senate that filibustered his nomination prior to the recess appointment one
Two of the nation’s largest LGBT political groups, the
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and National Stonewall Democrats, denounced Pryor
earlier this week.
Pryor is a fundamentalist Christian, and one of the
youngest individuals nominated to a lifetime position on the federal bench.
Gay activists particularly dislike the friend-of-the-court brief he signed in
defense of the Texas sodomy law in 2003, a brief in which he described
homosexuality as a sexual perversion on par with bestiality and others. Pryor
has “made it clear,” as HRC Vice President David Smith said, “that he
has a strong bias against LGBT Americans.”
Conservatives may argue that Pryor has proved his
moderate temperament in the last 12 months, a period when he has not written
any dissenting opinions nor strayed from conventional legal analysis. Yet, to
the LGBT community, Pryor’s presence on the 11th Circuit last year has made
Recently the 11th Circuit declined to rehear the
challenge to the Florida law that pre-empts gay men and lesbians from applying
to become adoptive parents. The 6-6 tie vote by the full court upheld an
earlier ruling in favor of Florida by a three-judge panel. Later, the U.S.
Supreme Court refused review, leaving the anti-gay ruling intact.
In addition to Pryor, Bush is bringing back Janice Brown
of the California Supreme Court, Richard Griffin, David McKeague and Henry
Saad, all three of Michigan, Priscilla Owen of Texas, and William Myers of
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