President Bush has announced that he will re-nominate five of his most contentious nominees to serve on federal appellate courts when the Senate reconvenes next week. The nominations were returned to Bush when the Senate recessed in August. Senate Democrats blocked attempts by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) to waive the rule that returns all nominees to the President when the Senate recesses for more than 30 days.
Included on the list is District Court Judge Terrence Boyle, a former aide to Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC), who was blocked by Democrats when he was first nominated to serve on the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush. Boyle, one of President Bush’s most controversial nominees, has issued numerous opinions hostile to affirmative action, women’s rights, fair employment, and voting rights. The most recent controversy surrounding Boyle is a report that reveals that he failed to recuse himself from nine cases in which he had a conflict of interest. Although Boyle was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his nomination did not reach the Senate floor for a vote.
Bush will also resubmit the nomination of William J. Haynes II for the 4th Circuit. Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) wrote about Haynes in an opinion piece in the Washington Post, “Nominations do not get much worse than thisÉHaynes does not come anywhere close to the commitment to fundamental rights and the principle of separation of powers that we all expect from the federal courts. He would be a poster boy on the 4th Circuit for denying the rule of law…”
The third on this list of five nominees is Norman Randy Smith of Idaho, who has a long history of representing Idaho’s large corporate interests, according to Alliance for Justice. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the only woman on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has vowed to block from a seat on the 9th Circuit that is traditionally held by a Californian according to the Legal Times. William Myers III, also from Idaho and to be nominated to the 9th Circuit, was previously blocked by a Democratic filibuster and then re-nominated. Patrick Leahy, (D-VT), ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has said that Myers was blocked for being “the most anti-environmental nominee sent to the Senate…”
Bringing up the rear is the nomination of Michael B. Wallace to the 5th Circuit. Wallace, a former aide to Senator Trent Lott (D-MS), has the distinction of being the first appellate court nominee in 25 years to be given a rating of “unqualified” to sit on the federal bench by the American Bar Association.