Far-right judicial nominee William Pryor, who has been described as “among the most extreme” of President Bush’s nominees, was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee today in a 10-9 party-line vote. Pryor, who has been nominated to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, has openly voiced his opposition to women’s rights and gay rights and is a staunch advocate of states rights. “If he is confirmed, his rulings on civil rights, abortion, gay rights and the separation of church and state would probably do substantial harm to the rights of all Americans,” the New York Times wrote in an editorial today. Democratic Senators also have raised questions about Pryor’s truthfulness about involvement in fundraising activities for the Republican Attorney Generals Association.
Pryor has called the 1973 US Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade “the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history,” and “the day seven members of our high court ripped the Constitution and ripped out the life of millions of unborn children.” He reaffirmed these statements at his Senate hearing last month.
Pryor will next be considered by the full Senate where his nomination could be blocked by a filibuster. While the Senate’s August recess is less than two weeks away, Senate Majority Leader Bill First (R-TN) told the Associated Press that Pryor and others could come up for a vote before the Senate adjourns. “Anybody who makes it [out of the Senate Judiciary Committee] will have a good shot of coming up before the recess,” Frist said.
The Feminist Majority joins a large coalition of women’s rights, civil rights, environmental, church-state separation, disability, and lesbian and gay rights groups – including even the gay Republican Log Cabin group – in opposing Pryor.