Pro-Abortion Senator Fails to Remove Pro-Life Judge From Appeals Court

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 14, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Abortion Senator Fails to Remove Pro-Life Judge From Appeals Court

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 14, 2004

Washington, DC ( — Senator Ted Kennedy, a leading abortion advocate, was so unhappy that President Bush used a recess appointment to place a pro-life judge on a federal appeals court that he filed a complaint with the court to have the judge removed. Last week, the court ruled against Kennedy’s effort to have the judge removed.

Following a Senate filibuster of pro-life Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor’s nomination to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, President Bush used a recess appointment to put Pryor on the bench.

On Thursday, the appeals court ruled that Kennedy failed to file his challenge before the April 28 deadline.

Kennedy’s motion "is untimely, and we decline to grant leave for a late filing," Chief Judge J.L. Edmondson wrote.

A Kennedy spokesman said the senator is unsure whether he will take further actions to remove Pryor from the court.

The Constitution allows presidents to issue "recess appointments," which generally last from one session of Congress until the beginning of the next. However, Kennedy claimed such appointments can only be made between sessions rather than during a session’s holiday break.

However, a White House spokeswoman told the Associated Press that Pryor’s appointment was well within constitutional guidelines.

"The president properly exercised the power granted to him by the US Constitution," White House spokeswoman Erin Healy said.

In a letter to the other 11th Circuit Court judges, Kennedy claimed that any decision they make in agreement with Pryor may be subject to challenge as invalid. The letter cites a Supreme Court ruling last year that stipulates that federal courts can only include judges named as per the rules set forth in the Constitution.

Pryor drew praise from pro-life groups and criticism from abortion advocates after his stalwart defense of his pro-life position during hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"I believe that not only is [Roe] 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," Pryor told members of the Senate panel.

President Bush also used a recess appointment in January to place pro-life nominee Charles Pickering on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.