Antigay Pryor likely to get permanent seat on federal bench

BY

May 25 2005 12:00 AM ET

Long derided by
Democrats as one of the most extreme judicial nominees in
history, former Alabama attorney general William Pryor will
now likely get a lifetime seat on the 11th U.S. circuit
court of appeals as part of a congressional compromise that
averted elimination of the judicial filibuster on Monday.
Pryor has been criticized for his right-wing views on
abortion and for comparing homosexuality to bestiality and
necrophilia. "We are gravely disappointed that Judge William
Pryor, who has a record of attacking equal rights for the
gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community, is one of
the nominees who will proceed," said Human Rights Campaign
executive director Joe Solmonese. "We will continue to focus
on Pryor's extreme views and urge senators of both parties
to oppose his nomination."
Jody Huckaby, executive director of Parents,
Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, described Pryor
as a dangerous enemy to gay and lesbian families. He upheld
a ban on adoption by gay parents in Florida, and in the 2003
Texas sodomy case before the U.S. Supreme Court he filed an
amicus brief comparing same-sex relationships to
pedophilia. "This is a bleak day for our families," Huckaby
said. "The radical right continues to prey on our loved ones
and, as evidenced by this deal, we have no defenders."
But Solmonese added that the deal to preserve the
filibuster does provide some future protection against even
more radical nominees. "This will be particularly important
when a nominee for the Supreme Court is named," he said. "We
laud this effort and those senators from both sides of the
aisle who crafted the agreement to protect our nation and
put an end to the nuclear option.... In the long term, this
compromise has kept intact a process that has been going on
for centuries allowing the minority party to weigh in on the
judges selected by the majority. That this power is
preserved is extremely important to GLBT Americans and our allies."
Other Bush nominees who will be allowed to advance to
a full senate vote include:
- Janice Rogers Brown, nominated for the U.S. court
of appeals for the District of Columbia circuit. She is an
African-American member of the California supreme court who
had been blocked by Democrats for nearly three years for
what they say is her conservative activism, including a vote
against adoption rights for gay couples in California.
- Priscilla Owen, a justice on the Texas supreme
court, nominated by Bush for the fifth U.S. circuit court of
appeals, based in New Orleans. A Sunday school teacher who
graduated at the top of her law school class, Owen had been
repeatedly blocked by Democrats who labeled her an
ultraconservative activist and faulted her rulings against
consumers, working people, and minors who want abortions.

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