Appeals Court Will Examine Bush Recess Nomination of Pro-Life Judge

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 20, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Appeals Court Will Examine Bush Recess Nomination of Pro-Life Judge

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 20, 2004

Atlanta, GA ( — A federal appeals court is looking into the appointment of a pro-life judge to its court and will examine whether the selection was constitutional. Abortion advocates have complained that President Bush’s recess appointment of Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor for the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was improper.

The court, based in Atlanta, asked the Justice Department on Monday to intervene in the case.

In February, President Bush appointed Pryor, who is pro-life, to the court using a recess appointment. That was necessary because the Senate filibustered the nomination and prevented a final vote for Pryor, who would likely have received a majority vote affirming his selection.

But pro-abortion Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy (D) and other members of the Senate balked at the recess appointment saying that it was unconstitutional.

Kennedy claimed that Bush could only make recess appointments between Congressional sessions rather than during a vacation period during a session of Congress.

The White House has defended Pryor’s appointment as within constitutional guidelines.

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

In June, the 11th circuit dismissed Kennedy’s complaint saying it was filed on time.

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.