- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 9, 2005

The Senate yesterday confirmed three more judicial nominees — one of whom had been guaranteed up-or-down votes under last month’s deal to break some of the filibusters — but moments later, Democrats on the Judiciary Committee blocked a panel vote on yet another nominee.

On a 53-45 vote yesterday afternoon, former Alabama Attorney General William H. Pryor was approved for the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — as per the filibuster deal — over strenuous objection from Democrats.

Two more nominees — Michigan Appeals Court Judge Richard A. Griffin and Federal District Judge David W. McKeague — were unanimously confirmed to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Immediately after the Pryor vote, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee gathered in a small room off the Senate chamber to send to the floor another nominee.

But in the midst of the heated meeting, Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat and panel member, charged in and complained that Federal District Judge Terrence W. Boyle, who was nominated more than four years ago to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, was being rushed through the committee.

After Mr. Schumer and other Democrats said they wanted one more week to review Judge Boyle’s unpublished legal opinions, Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican and chairman of the committee, acquiesced.

In an earlier committee meeting, Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, urged Republicans to consider “what some of the groups have said about Terry Boyle,” a reference to the outside liberal interest groups.

One group, he said, called Judge Boyle an “equal opportunity meanie.” Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, accused Judge Boyle of having a reversal rate far higher than the national average.

A few minutes later, Mr. Specter pointedly corrected Mr. Leahy. The inflated “reversal rate” cited by Mr. Leahy, he said, included cases in which a Boyle decision had been criticized by a higher court but not reversed.

In fact, Mr. Specter said, Judge Boyle’s reversal rate is 7.5 percent and lower than the national average of 8.6 percent.

At that, Mr. Leahy sniffed audibly, popped a mint into his mouth and leaned back in his armchair without a word.

The Pryor vote mostly followed party lines. Sens. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine were the only Republicans to vote against Judge Pryor, and Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Ken Salazar of Colorado were the only Democrats to back him.

Republicans clearly were pleased with yesterday’s votes.

“These three nominees have waited a combined total of over eight years for their votes,” President Bush said. “I applaud the Senate for today giving these fine nominees the up-or-down votes they deserve.”

Democrats harshly criticized Judge Pryor for his conservative views.

He has referred to Roe v. Wade, the case that established abortion rights, as “the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history.” He also has been criticized by Democrats for rearranging a summer vacation at Walt Disney World with his children to avoid “Gay Day.”

Mr. Schumer criticized Judge Pryor for opposing a federal bill aimed at curbing domestic violence.

“To be so opposed to preventing women from being beaten by their husbands and taking remedies to deal with women who are beaten makes no sense to me,” he said.


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