The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote tomorrow morning on the nomination of far-right extremist William Pryor to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Pryor, the latest example of President Bush’s attempts to stack the courts with far-right ideologues, has openly voiced his opposition to women’s rights and gay rights and is a staunch advocate of states rights.
“We believe that Mr. Pryor’s demonstrated opposition to women’s rights disqualify him for appointment to this, or any other court,” Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority, wrote in a letter to the Senate. 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. “From his record and actions, Mr. Pryor has made clear his extremist opinions and his willingness to use his position as Alabama Attorney General to advance his ideology regardless of the rights of others.”
At his confirmation hearing last month, Pryor spoke openly of his ultra-conservative personal views, defending earlier statements calling 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.” Still, Pryor insisted he would “follow the law” as a member of the 11th Circuit Court – which is often the court of last resort for Florida, Alabama and Georgia.
Pryor also has argued against requiring the Virginia Military Institute, a state-funded school, to accept women as students. He 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. Pryor later wrote an article arguing that the federal government should remove itself from efforts to protect women from violence.
Pryor has compared homosexuality to prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, child pornography, incest, and pedophilia. As an espoused religious zealot, he supported the placement of a two-ton monument to the Ten Commandments in the rotunda of Alabama’s Supreme Court building, which was recently ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court.