Democrats Filibuster Pryor Nomination, Judiciary Approves Brown

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 6, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Democrats Filibuster Pryor Nomination, Judiciary Approves Brown

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 6, 2003

Washington, DC ( — On Thursday, pro-abortion lawmakers filibustered another of President Bush’s pro-life judicial nominations. This time, the victim was pro-life Alabama Attorney General William Pryor who has been nominated to a position on the federal appeals court. Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved pro-life California Supreme Court judge Janice Rogers Brown on a party-line vote.

Pryor only received 51 votes, including the support of pro-life Democrats Zell Miller (D-GA) and Ben Nelson (D-NE). He lost a prior filibuster vote in July.

During his June Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Pryor said "I believe that not only is the case unsupported by the text and structure of the Constitution, but it has led to a morally wrong result. It has led to the slaughter of millions of innocent unborn children."

"They call him an extreme ideologue, a crusader to push the law far to the right,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL). "Anybody who knows him and knows the circumstances under which he has operated knows the courage he has shown, knows that these charges are just bogus.”

Meanwhile, Brown is likely to be one of the next filibuster victims.

Despite the fact that she would become only the second black woman on the D.C. appeals court, Democrats on the committee voted unanimously against her. The 10-9 party-line vote almost certainly sets the stage for another loss in the Senate.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said President Bush was "pleased that the Senate Judiciary Committee today acted on the nomination of Janice Rogers Brown and voted her out of committee."

He called Brown "a highly regarded judge with a distinguished career in public service, and she will make an outstanding addition on the D.C. Circuit Court."

In 1997, she issued a strong and well-researched dissent in a case where the California Supreme Court overturned a pro-life law requiring abortion facilities to obtain parental consent before performing an abortion on a teenage girl.

Brown accused the court’s plurality of abrogating the constitutional rights of parents, described the court’s thinking as circular, and called the case "an excellent example of the folly of courts in the role of philosopher kings."

"When fundamentally moral and philosophical issues are involved and the questions are fairly debatable," Brown wrote, "the judgment call belongs to the Legislature. . . . They represent the will of the people."

Abortion advocates opposed her nomination.

"Janice Rogers Brown is a prime example of a nominee who sees the federal bench as a platform to advance her own extremist views," said pro-abortion Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA).

Democrats have filibustered four pro-life Appeals Court nominees: Pryor, Texas judge Priscilla Owen, Mississippi judge Charles Pickering and Hispanic lawyer Miguel Estrada.

Estrada dropped his nomination after several votes to break the filibuster saying Senate Democrats were destroying the judicial confirmation process.

Action: To see how your senators voted, go to: