by Steven Ertelt
June 9, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Senate on Thursday confirmed three appellate court judges, ending years of pro-abortion filibusters against them. The Senate voted 53-45 to confirm former Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.
Members also confirmed David McKeague and Richard Griffin to the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati on unanimous votes.
Despite knowing they were headed for approval, leading abortion advocates still complained about their nominations.
"I think these are three bad judges," Sen. Richard Durbin, the number two Senate Democrat, said of Pryor Janice Rogers Brown and Priscilla Owen. "Janice Rogers Brown is the worst ever nominated by the Bush administration. In order to preserve the right of filibuster and extended debate for future judicial nominees, Janice Rogers Brown will now sit on the D.C. Circuit for a lifetime."
However, pro-life groups were delighted with the vote.
"Once again the American people have seen that the Democrats’ phony filibustering was nothing more than a politically motivated attempt to keep the majority who wanted to confirm this fine judge from casting their votes," Concerned Women for America’s Jan LaRue said.
Pryor drew praise from pro-life groups after his stalwart defense of his pro-life position during hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Pro-abortion Sen. Arlen Specter, of Pennsylvania, asked Pryor if a quote attributed to Pryor having him saying "the worst abomination in the history of constitutional law" was accurate.
Yes, Pryor said, the quote was accurate. Did Pryor stand by his words?
"I stand by that comment," Pryor said. "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."
Maine Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, and Rhode Island Republican Lincoln Chafee voted against Pryor while Democrats Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Ken Salazar of Colorado voted for him.
Together, the Senate has confirmed five Bush judges supported by pro-life groups. That happened thanks to a bipartisan deal by 14 members of the Senate that halted a debate on whether to change Senate rules to prevent judicial filibusters.
With the votes cast, a handful of appeals court judges remain who were not a part of the filibuster deal.
Observers also say a battle of a potential Supreme Court nominee could be just months away.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a pro-life Republican from South Carolina who was a part of the deal told Knight Ridder he hopes "that we can get a Supreme Court nominee — it may come soon — through a collaborative process who would be a solid conservative."
"The next test for the body is the potential Supreme Court opening," he added.