The presidential race and its natural partisanship has spilled over into the federal courts at the expense of the American people. As President Bush approved his second recess judicial appointment in two months, care for the necessary middle-of-the-road ideology of judges has fallen to the wayside.
Last Friday, Bush appointed Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. The court covers Alabama, Florida and Georgia . Bush used constitutional authority that allows the president to install nominees in office when Congress is not in session.
When Bush initially placed Pryor before the Senate for approval in April 2003, the democrats successfully filibustered the move, blocking his path to the bench. The move was due heavily to Pryor’s far right leanings that drew immediate fire from civil rights and pro-choice activists.
The democrats justified blocking Pryor as maintaining the balance of the federal court system, which demands relative impartiality from judges in order to ensure justice is properly executed.
While serving as Alabama’s Attorney General, Pryor tried to help overturn Roe vs. Wade and filed supreme court briefs likening homosexual acts to necrophilia, bestiality, incest, pedophilia and other nefarious acts.
Democratic Presidential Candidate John Kerry pointed out that Pryor has “a history of partisanship and pursuing an ideological agenda that does not represent mainstream views.”
By placing Pryor on the bench, Bush has given the conservative republicans a powerful voice, but he has placed the rights of the majority of Americans at jeopardy.
Violating and completely disrespecting the Senate tradition of only approving non-controversial nominees during an election year, has undoubtedly strengthened Bush’s waning support from fellow Republicans who have expressed a growing unease with the level of federal spending.
Unfortunately, shifting the power of the courts drastically in favor of Republican views leaves a large segment of the population alienated and misrepresented in the federal court system.
However, Pryor’s appointment takes on further suspicion, because the appointment was not made during a lengthy vacation but instead, during Congress’s weeklong recess for the Presidents Day holiday.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., was right when he asked, “What will the president try next – a recess appointment when the Senate is in recess for a weekend?”
Although Bush is not the first president to make recess appointments, the partiality and contempt for the current system of judicial appointments is apparent.
Ultimately, the placement will harm the majority of the American people whose views fall further left than Pryor’s.
Presidential candidate John Edwards made a solid case when he said Bush was “abusing his authority as president to put someone on the bench who is likely to abuse his authority as a judge. This is one more example of why we need a new president.”
Jason E. Hutchins for the editorial board.