Saturday, February 21, 2004

I’ll Get You at Recess, Part II

As if we needed yet another reason to get Bush out of office as quickly as the law allows:

Bypassing Senate for Second Time, Bush Seats Judge

By NEIL A. LEWIS

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 — President Bush on Friday used a weeklong Congressional recess to install William H. Pryor Jr., the Alabama attorney general, in a federal appeals court seat to get around a Democratic filibuster that had blocked the nomination.

It was the second time in the last five weeks that Mr. Bush used a president’s power to make appointments when Congress is not in session to name judges directly to the bench and thus skirt the Senate confirmation process. In January, Mr. Bush named Charles W. Pickering Sr., whose nomination had also been blocked by Senate Democrats, to another appeals court seat.

There was little dispute that Mr. Bush’s actions in both cases were a calculated act of defiance of the Democrats with whom he has been engaged in an increasingly hostile battle over his judicial choices. Republican Senate officials suggested Friday that there may be more such recess appointments as a response to the Democrats’ tactic of using filibusters or the threat of extended debates to block confirmation of the president’s judicial nominees.

“A minority of Democratic senators has been using unprecedented obstructionist tactics to prevent him and other qualified nominees from receiving up-or-down votes,” Mr. Bush said in a statement. “Their tactics are inconsistent with the Senate’s constitutional responsibility and are hurting our judicial system.”

Unless he is confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Pryor will have to leave the bench sometime late next year.

Good. He can help Laura pack.