Bush Concedes to Democrats Over Recess Appointments

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 19, 2004 ( - Democratic senators have won a battle with U.S. President George W. Bush over the issue of recess appointments of judges to the courts. The White House promised to abandon the use of recess appointments for the remainder of the presidential term in exchange for an end to Democratic obstructionist tactics in the Senate. Democratic senators had orchestrated a seven-week deadlock in the Senate in protest of the President’s use of recess appointments.  President Bush had implemented the recess appointment to circumnavigate the Senate filibustering by a minority of pro-abortion Democrats who disagreed with the President’s nominees.

In a White House release in February, after the recess appointment of William H. Pryor Jr., President Bush described the Democratic activities: “A minority of Democratic Senators has been using unprecedented obstructionist tactics to prevent him and other qualified nominees from receiving up-or-down votes. Their tactics are inconsistent with the Senate’s constitutional responsibility and are hurting our judicial system,” the White House release said.  President Bush’s appointment of Pryor in February marked the second such move in five weeks, as he made a similar recess appointment of US District Judge Charles Pickering on January 15th. The Republican Senate was unable to garner the 60 votes necessary to end the Democratic filibuster. Pickering’s appointment was opposed by many abortion-rights groups because of his record on reproductive rights

Democratic Senators, in exchange for the White House’ agreement, have assented to allow voting on 25 judicial nominations to appeals and district courts. The 25 nominees allowed by Democrats exclude seven who were deemed unsuitable for the high court based on their conservative views, especially because of their opposition to abortion. Pro-abortion Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) told reporters that Democrats will continue to hold out against these seven nominees, as reported by the Washington Post.  John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said that President Bush was compelled to take the recess appointment route. “It was a constitutional response to an unconstitutional filibuster.”  Read the related reports, “Bush Recess Appoints Pro-Life William H. Pryor Jr. to US Court of Appeals,” at:   “Bush Installs Pro-Life Judicial Nominee Foiling Filibusters by Pro-Abortion Senators,” at:

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