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Wednesday, June 11, 2003

FRC report on Pryor Hearing

Hearing Gets 'Pryor-itized'

The hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee today was "Pryor-itized." Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor did
not back down from his strong pro-life and pro-family views under very hostile questioning from Democrats Ted Kennedy,
Chuck Schumer, Pat Leahy & Co. President Bush's judicial nominees have come to expect rough handling from Senate
Democrats, but some of the most aggressive grilling today came from Republican Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. Sen.
Specter, who is pro-abortion, interrogated Mr. Pryor on his pro-life views. Sen. Specter cited a statement from Mr.
Pryor calling Roe v. Wade an "abomination." Under the cross examination Mr. Pryor stood by his characterization
of Roe. That ruling, he said, "led to the slaughter of millions of innocent unborn children." Mr. Pryor went on:
Roe is not supported by either the text or the structure of the Constitution. This is pretty strong stuff from a
nominee to the federal bench. Typically nominees are coached to be noncommittal and inoffensive under Senate
interrogation. Mr. Pryor's advantage is that he can point to a solid record as a state attorney general enforcing laws he finds personally offensive, even such outrages as Roe v. Wade. Sen. Schumer questioned whether Mr. Pryor, given his deeply held beliefs, could set aside his personal convictions and apply the law fairly and equally. Sen. Schumer routinely pursues this line of questioning with nominees who are known to be active, believing Christians. Mr. Pryor is a devout Roman Catholic. Sen. Schumer seems to suggest that people of faith should be disqualified from service on the federal bench. This issue erupted into a nasty exchange between Sen. Pat Leahy and committee chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch. The intensely hostile questioning from committee Democrats left little doubt that Mr. Pryor's nomination will be next in line for a filibuster. All of this can get very confusing, which perhaps explains why at one point Sen. Schumer said Mr. Pryor had been nominated to the 5th Circuit, when in fact, he's been appointed to the 11th. Sen. Schumer must have been thinking of Judge Priscilla Owen and Judge Charles Pickering, both stalled nominees to the 5th Circuit.

EY: I looked on CSPAN's site and couldn't find this hearing. I hope that there are others who can report on it.