Senate Panel Approves Pro-Life Nominee, Sets Up Filibuster Fight

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 15, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Panel Approves Pro-Life Nominee, Sets Up Filibuster Fight Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 15, 2005

Washington, DC ( — A Senate panel last week approved another of President Bush’s pro-life judicial picks, setting up a likely battle over filibusters this week. The Senate Judiciary Committee backed Bill Pryor’s nomination to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on a 10-8 party line vote.

After Republicans approved Pryor’s nomination, the former Alabama Attorney General now heads to the Senate floor. That’s where an upcoming battle will take place over whether or not to change Senate rules to make it easier to stop abortion advocates from filibustering Bush’s nominees.

Bush temporarily named Pryor to the appeals court and pro-abortion Sen. Ted Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, last a lawsuit attempting to remove him from it. Kennedy claimed President Bush misused a recess appointment but courts upheld Bush’s action saying it was constitutional.

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

While regular appointments are for life, recess appointments are only temporary. Pryor’s term on the court concludes at the end of 2005.

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 last time.

"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.

Despite his pro-life views on abortion, Pryor upset supporters of Terri Schiavo when he twice sided with the rest of the 11th Circuit in backing a federal judge who refused to stop Terri’s starvation death and allow her parents to have a full federal review of the state court decisions allowing it.

Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen, California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown and William G. Myers III, an attorney, are three other appeals court picks Senate Democrats are filibustering.