Senator Kennedy Considers Suit Over Pryor Appointment
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 1, 2004
WASHINGTON, DC--Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) wants his staff to prepare arguments to challenge President George W. Bush's recent appointment of William Pryor to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
The President took advantage of a Congressional break to appoint the controversial Attorney General from Alabama. His move effectively bypassed the Senate confirmation process which Democrats on the Judiciary Committee had stalled for months with a filibuster.
Pryor has been outspoken on a number of issues, including his opposition to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The question on Kennedy's mind has to do with whether last month's 10-day "break" can be considered a true "recess" under the Constitution.
The Constitution gives the President power to fill federal court vacancies "that may happen during the Recess of the Senate", by appointing people to those positions which are set to expire at the end of the next session.
At issue is whether the initial writers of the Constitution meant "recess" to include only the period after each Congressional session is over, or shorter breaks of a week or two.
"I think there are very substantive questions to the legality," Kennedy told the Congressional newspaper The Hill.
Last year, more than 60 disability organizations joined Senate Democrats in opposing Pryor's appointment to the federal appellate court. The groups pointed out that Pryor is on record opposing the ADA, which he has called an "illegal mandate".
Those opposing Pryor's confirmation have been encouraged to continue letting their lawmakers know of their views. If Pryor is not confirmed by the full Senate, his appointment will expire at the end of 2005.
"Kennedy eyes suit on Pryor" (The Hill)