Sen. Edward Kennedy lost a bid to block former Alabama attorney general Bill Pryor's appointment to the federal appeals court in Atlanta when Pryor's fellow judges turned down the Massachusetts Democrat's motion to argue it was unconstitutional. Kennedy's motion "is untimely, and we decline to grant leave for a late filing," Chief Judge J.L. Edmondson wrote Thursday, noting the deadline had
expired April 28. President Bush installed Pryor, who spoke out against gay rights on the bench February 20 to thwart a Democratic filibuster in the Senate. Bush said he was making a recess appointment. But in his motion to the 11th circuit, Kennedy said it was not a true recess appointment. A true recess appointment, he said, can be made only between sessions of Congress. In this case, Kennedy argued, the appointment came during an intrasession adjournment as the Senate had taken 10 days off for the Presidents' Day holiday. That was not the recess that the framers of the Constitution had in mind, Kennedy said.
Pryor's federal appointment was vigorously opposed by Democratic senators who objected to his past comments and writings on abortion and homosexuality. Bush said Pryor is a "leading American lawyer," adding that he had been pushed past the Senate's normal confirmation process because of "unprecedented obstructionist tactics," referring to the filibuster.