Bush Bypasses Dems On Judgeship

Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in Warner Bros. Pictures' Sherlock Holmes - 2009
Bypassing Senate Democrats who have stalled his judicial nominations, President Bush will use a recess appointment to put Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at least temporarily, government sources said Friday.

The White House began informing senators Friday afternoon of President Bush's intention, said one Senate source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The recess appointment, which would last only until the end of this year, would be the second by Mr. Bush to sidestep Democrats who have mounted successful filibusters against Pryor and five other appeals court nominees.

The recess appointment was the second that Mr. Bush has used this year for sidestepping Senate Democrats opposed to his nominees.

Last month, Mr. Bush used an identical appointment to promote Mississippi federal judge Charles Pickering to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Mr. Bush picked Pryor last April for a seat on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that covers Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Abortion rights advocates immediately mounted a campaign against him, citing Pryor's criticism of the Supreme Court's Row v. Wade decision saying women had a constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.

Republicans have been unsuccessful in five attempts, the last one in November, at breaking through the parliamentary blockade that Democrats erected against Pryor's nomination.

Pryor, 41, is a founder of the Republican Attorneys General Association, which raises money for GOP attorneys general. At his confirmation hearing, he said he had not lobbied tobacco companies or companies under investigation by his office, but Democrats said they had documents showing Pryor may have been involved in some fund-raising activities.