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VOL. 5, NO. 10 Aug. 8, 2003

August Recess: No Break from Democrats Denying Justice

Virginia C. Armstrong, Ph.D., National Chairman, Court Watch 
Jessica Echard, Eagle Forum Intern

Three is not a crowd for Democrat senators who voted before leaving for August recess last week to filibuster yet another of President Bush’s judicial nominees. Democrat senators added Alabama Attorney General William Pryor Jr., another well-qualified nominee, to the growing list of filibustered nominees yet to be voted on by the full Senate. Falling alongside fellow filibustered nominees, Miguel Estrada, nominated to the D.C. Circuit, and Priscilla Owen, nominated to the 5th Circuit, Pryor received only 53 of the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture.

Pryor's nomination highlights the blatant denial of justice caused by Democrats in the Senate. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) attacked Pryor’s "deeply held beliefs" as potentially too influential in Pryor's life to allow him to follow the rule of law. "It's hard to believe that the incredibly strong ideology of this nominee won't impact how he rules if he is confirmed," Schumer said. A devout Catholic, Pryor is guided by his values, including his pro-life position, which falls directly in line with Catholic doctrine. In this context, Democrats send a clear message: "Catholics need not apply."

Judge Pryor is not the only example of the Democrats attack on the judicial nominations process. Here are some key facts about the Democrats strangle hold on justice:

  • Michigan Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow continue to "blue-slip" four nominees to the 6th Circuit as retaliation for their blocked Clinton nominees over four years ago. Judicial Committee Chairman, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), granted Judge Henry Saad, one of the "Michigan 4," a hearing last week despite this attempt to block his nomination.  
  • Filibustered nominees Estrada and Owen have faced seven and three separate cloture votes, respectively. 
  • Democrats now have their sights set on Judge Carolyn Kuhl, nominated to the 9th Circuit, targeting her for their next filibuster after the recess.

The Democrats' obstruction of justice must stop. Our judicial nominations process is no place for religious litmus tests or political retaliation.

Judicial Nominations Statistics, 8/4/03
 Pending Nominations: 
 Current VacanciesBefore Judiciary CommitteeBefore Full SenateConfirmed
District Courts40257117
Courts of Appeals1811627

Had Hearing: 20
Had No Hearing: 29
Status of Nominations More than One Year Old:
Being Filibustered = 3
Had Hearing Only = 4
Had No Hearing = 6

Visit Your Senators While They Are Home,
And Urge Them To Stop Blockading Judicial Nominations!!!

Contact your Senators during the August recess
To find district offices: Enter your zip code, then select "info" under your two Senators pictures.

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