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Reform Jewish Movement Disappointed by President's Recess Appointment of William Pryor to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals

Contact:Alexis Rice or Sheryl Shapiro
202.387.2800

Pelavin: The President's prerogative to make recess appointments must not be carte blanche to stack our federal courts with ideologues whose records are so extreme that the regular appointment process becomes a rightful obstacle to their appointment.


WASHINGTON, February 20, 2004 - In response to today's recess appointment of William Pryor to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

We are deeply troubled by today's recess appointment of William Pryor to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Throughout his career on the bench, Attorney General Pryor has established a clear record of hostility toward the separation of church and state, women's reproductive rights and has been an overzealous advocate of states' rights.

The President's prerogative to make recess appointments must not be carte blanche to stack our federal courts with ideologues whose records are so extreme that the regular appointment process becomes a rightful obstacle to their appointment. As Attorney General, William Pryor has repeatedly shown questionable judgment-from his early support for Alabama Judge Roy Moore's efforts to display the 10 Commandments in his courtroom to his deeming the law's separation of church and state an "error." Under Mr. Pryor's leadership, Alabama was the only state to challenge before the U.S. Supreme Court the constitutionality of the Violence Against Women Act. He has referred to the Roe v. Wade ruling guaranteeing women's reproductive rights as an "abominable decision." And Mr. Pryor has argued that individual employees should have no remedy when the state does not comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Coming barely a month after the President's recess appointment of another nominee with a record far outside the mainstream, Charles Pickering, Sr. to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, we call on the President in the future to nominate individuals with records that do not lead Americans to question the impartiality of our federal courts. There is a reason why even this conservative Senate withheld its consent on these extreme nominees-they are far outside any fair reading of the judicial mainstream.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews , and the Central Conference of American Rabbis(CCAR) whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis .



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