Saturday, February 21, 2004

Pryor finally on the bench

On Friday, President Bush used the recess appointment power to put Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Bush first nominated Pryor for the appellate court position in April of 2003. Between now and then, Pryor's confirmation has not even come up for a vote in the United States Senate. This is due to the unprecedented tactics that a minority of Democratic senators have used in filibustering the President's nominees for the federal judiciary. There is a legitimate argument that filibustering judicial nominees is actually a failure by the Senate to fulfill its constiutional duties.

But, part of the blame must go to the Republicans as well. Republican senators have not taken a strong position in attempting to force a vote on judicial nominees. Nor have they done an adequate job in putting this important constitutional debate before the American public. Hopefully, the Democratic filibuster of judicial nominees will be an important topic in the November election since the Democratic nominee will almost certainly be a member of the Senate.