The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing today on President Bush’s nomination of Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor to the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. The Feminist Majority joins a broad coalition of women’s rights, civil rights, environmental, church-state separation, disability, and lesbian and gay rights groups opposing Pryor. Even the gay Republican Log Cabin group has come out against Pryor.
He is “one of the most dangerous judicial nominees of this administration that we’ve seen yet,” said Ralph Neas, executive director of People for the American Way, according to Newsday. Pryor has denounced Roe v. Wade, the 1973 US Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, as “the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history,” according to the Washington Post. At a 1997 rally sponsored by the far-right Christian Coalition, he called the decision “the day seven members of our high court ripped the Constitution and ripped out the life of millions of unborn children,” according to the New York Times.
As a member of the right-wing Federalist Society, Pryor also is one of the architects of the so-called “state’s rights” movement. For example, he has criticized the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Virginia, which ruled unconstitutional Virginia Military Institute’s denial of admission to women. Pryor disparaged the constitutional rights of women, and denounced this decision, citing it as an example of the court’s having been “both antidemocratic and insensitive to federalism,” according to NOW LDEF. Pryor also submitted an amicus brief on behalf of Alabama in the Supreme Court case United States v. Morrison arguing that the civil rights remedy of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was unconstitutional, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families.