Bush Will Renominate 20 Judges
President Bush announced yesterday his intention to renominate 20 people previously blocked by Senate Democrats for federal court seats, setting the stage for a renewal of the bitter partisan battles over the makeup of the federal judiciary. The president’s list includes seven appeals court candidates whose nominations were stalled on the Senate floor by Democrats, who said the nominees’ conservative views were out of the mainstream. The other nominations never made it to the full Senate. Buoyed by his reelection and a four-seat Republican gain in the Senate, Bush said he will submit the nominees’ names when the Senate returns to work next month.
Among the most prominent names on the list are Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Richman Owen, who was previously nominated for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit; California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown, previously nominated to a seat on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; and former associate White House counsel Brett M. Kavanaugh, who was also nominated to the D.C. Circuit. William J. Haynes II, who served as Pentagon general counsel when controversial detainee policies were set, will again be a nominee for the 4th Circuit.
Another is former Alabama attorney general William H. Pryor, an outspoken abortion opponent, for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta. Pryor was appointed by Bush last year to the 11th Circuit while Congress was in recess; Pryor needs Senate confirmation to stay on the court.
“The Senate has a constitutional obligation to vote up or down on a president’s judicial nominees, and the president looks forward to working with the new Senate to ensure a well-functioning and independent judiciary,” White House press secretary Scott McClellan said. He said 16 of the 20 people being renominated have been waiting for more than a year for a vote.
Bush’s nominations promise to rekindle the battles waged in the Senate over many of his judicial nominees. They will also provide a preview of the all-out fight expected when Bush makes an appointment to the Supreme Court.
See also Bush Tries Again on Court Choices Stalled in Senate (NYT).
I like the aggressiveness of this move. Bush has a right to appoint qualified judges and have the Senate vote them up or down.