March 31, 2005

Addendum to Bill Pryor's Record

An alternate headline for this entry might read: "Down With All Judicial Activists."

Some of you may remember that I had grave questions about the record of one of President Bush's judicial nominees. The nominee I had serious concerns about was Bill Pryor, the former attorney general of Alabama and an extremist conservative that President Bush tried to push through the Senate last year. When he was unable to do it because of a Democratic filibuster, President Bush gave him a temporary appointment to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Yes, that's right, the court of appeals that several times refused to reinsert Terri Schindler-Schiavo's feeding tube. When I took note of the fact that he would be one of the deciding judges, I wrote:

What I find ironic is that the hope of saving Terri Schindler-Schiavo's life has now been placed partially in the hands of a man I neither trust nor respect, Judge William Pryor, the former attorney general of Alabama and President Bush's temporary appointment to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. I pray that he and the other judges on the appellate court will make the right decision. And I don't know how his making the right decision will impact my opinion of him; I guess we'll find out if he does it ("Breaking News: Judge Won't Help Terri," Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 3/23/2005).

What I did not say then, because I knew I would be accused of partisan bitterness, was that I had strong doubts about whether or not this great bastion of the pro-life movement would act to save Terri Schindler-Schiavo. I didn't say it, but it's been on my mind ever since. What I've discovered now is that my suspicions were warranted; there was a 10-2 vote to reject the appeal to reinsert Terri's feeding tube, and Pryor was one of the ten in the majority, not one of the two dissenting opinions. Let all pro-life Catholics, all conservative Catholics, and all Republican Catholics take note: the man you thought would help your cause in the judicial system has refused to do it, and he has been complicit in the death of Terri Schindler-Schiavo.

I hope that David Schrader, especially, will take note. For those of you who don't know, David Schrader is a contributing editor of Catholics in the Public Square and the editor of Catholics for Bush, and he was one of the most vociferous defenders of Pryor when I questioned his record before. Perhaps this will cause David and all who were willing to give Pryor the benefit of the doubt to take a second look.

And when the conservatives and the Republicans begin talking about whose fault this is, when they blame it on the "liberal judiciary," when they say Democrats didn't do enough, etc., etc., ad nauseam -- readers of Sollicitudo Rei Socialis should remember that Judge Greer, the judge responsible for it all, is a conservative Republican. They should remember that many judges on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals are Republican appointees. They should remember that seven of nine Supreme Court justices are Republican appointees. And they should remember that Judge William Pryor, the extremist who has been temporarily appointed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, wasn't extreme enough to save Terri Schindler-Schiavo's life.

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Note: David Schrader from Catholics for Bush has pointed out that we cannot discern, from the court order alone, the number of judges on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals who ruled against the Schindlers and the number who dissented. Thus, from the court order taken by itself, we cannot discern whether or not Judge Pryor voted with the majority against the Schindlers or with the minority of dissenting judges. Although I have raised the possibility of other sources of information contributing to the 10-2 vote tally, in the absence of any such information, I must admit the possibility that Judge Pryor dissented from the majority opinion -- even though I still maintain that the available evidence works in favor of my original assertion.