The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Tuesday to consider the renomination of William Myers III for a seat on the Ninth Circuit of the US Court of Appeals. Myers was one of seven judicial nominees resubmitted by Bush after having been blocked by Democratic filibusters. Myers was blocked for being what the committee’s ranking democrat Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) calls “the most anti-environmental nominee sent to the Senate” as well as for past statements praising what he considers the Supreme Court’s “retreat” from the protection of privacy, on which the rights to birth control and abortion rest.
Last July, Myers’ first nomination was blocked by Democratic filibuster. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), after reviewing Myers’ record again, said on Tuesday that because of his extreme stances on the environment, Bush’s act of renominating him was “a thumb in the eye of bipartisanship,” the Los Angeles Times reports. Also, in a surprising move, first-term Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO) sent a letter to President Bush asking him to withdraw the nominees that had been previously blocked. “The decision to renominate these individuals,” the letter read, “will undoubtedly create the animosity and divisiveness…that is not helpful to our nation and will sidetrack our collective efforts to work on other crucial matters,” according to the Denver Post.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) decided to hold a hearing for Myers first out of the seven previously blocked nominees because Specter believes he has more support among Democrats than the others. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), when questioned about plans for a filibuster of Myers, replied, “On the judges that have been brought forward previously, we’re going to treat them just as we have in the past,” the Los Angeles Times reports.