What’s good for the goose…

How is President Bush’s use of a recess appointment to seat Alabama attorney general Bill Pryor on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals any different from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom issuing same-sex marriage licenses?

Bush has now used the recess appointment twice during his presidency. While he is within the Constitution on this matter, that’s only the letter of the Constitution. He’s using a broad interpretation of the Constitution, which seems opposed to his view of interpreting the Constitution regarding same-sex marriage. (I understand that other presidents have used the recess appointment. It’s become acceptable and can be a valid tool to grease the wheels of government. The recess appointment isn’t my issue with this argument.)

After the White House notified key Senators of President Bush’s action, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, responded with his statement.

“General Pryor is a man of integrity committed to the rule of law, not making law from the bench. I am confident he will impartially interpret the law and uphold justice.”

Frist said Bush had been “forced to make this recess appointment because of the unprecedented filibuster that Senate Democrats have used. … This obstructionism must stop.”

Senator Frist stopped short of saying “activist judges”, but he should be honest about it next time since that’s what he was trying to say. Judges do not make law, contrary to his statement. Judges repair bad law or return it to the legislature for reconsideration, which is in their job description. That’s the definition of interpreting the rule of law. It’s called checks and balances.

As for obstructionism, it’s a legitimate form of intra-government dissent. While it may not reflect the majority vote within the Senate, it’s how the Senate is structured. Perhaps Senator Frist should remember that the next time he wishes to use the Constitution to his advantage.

The heart of the appointment issue is Bill Pryor’s views and potential rulings worry Democrats. This next section briefly touches upon an issue that illustrates this concern.

As Alabama’s attorney general, Pryor was a key figure in the removal of Chief Justice Roy Moore for defying a federal judge’s order to take out a Ten Commandments monument from the judicial building in Montgomery, saying it violated the principle of separation of religion and state. Moore was removed from office in November.

Pryor, a Republican and self-professed conservative Christian, supported the monument’s installation, but said Moore was bound to obey the judge’s order.

That implies to me that he would rule differently than the order he was “bound to obey”. However, openly confronting the issues when he’s sworn to obey the law doesn’t seem to be a problem. Consider this from an article in The Washington Post.

Pryor, 41, has described Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s landmark abortion rights decision, as “the worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.” In 1997, his first year as Alabama attorney general, he invoked God’s will while speaking at a Christian Coalition rally to defend a state judge who posted the Ten Commandments in his courtroom.

Ignoring the issues presented, I think behavior and the people’s trust in impartiality is the key with this nomination and opposition. The current Attorney General for a state should not be speaking at a Christian Coalition rally and invoking God’s name.

President Bush used this recess appointment because Senate Democrats filibustered Pryor’s nomination. I stated that, while not necessarily the original spirit of the Constitution, it’s within the literal interpretation. He’s not breaking the law.

Allow me a moment to determine if I have this correct. Realizing that the original framers of the Constitution hadn’t thought of every situation the United States may face, the Constitution’s interpretation can be expanded to include what is deemed correct and necessary? Also, President Bush, frustrated by a branch of the government’s refusal to make progress that he saw as correct, stepped in and took action himself to fix the mistake?

I’ve assessed the situation correctly. There is no difference between the actions of President Bush and Mayor Newsom. President Bush is a hypocrite.

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