Pro-Life Group Wants Recess Appointment of Bush Nominees

By Jeff Johnson | July 7, 2008 | 8:29 PM EDT

Capitol Hill ( - A predominantly Catholic pro-life group said Tuesday that a federal court's decision to delay the California recall election vote is the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back" and shows the need for President Bush to recess appoint judicial nominees currently being blocked by a minority of liberal senators.

The Crusade for the Defense of Our Catholic Church, a project of the American Life League (ALL), had planned a press conference Tuesday morning to announce its "California's Unholy Trinity" ad campaign.

The ads will target California Gov. Gray Davis (D), Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (D) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) for allegedly "campaigning on their 'Catholic' heritage while openly defiling the Church's teachings by their support of abortion on demand."

But the group abruptly cancelled the press conference after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the election, according to Joe Giganti, director of media and government relations for the ALL.

"We've seen in the Senate, in the blockade that they've been facing, that [Democrats are] not going to allow conservative judges to be put in place," Giganti said. "We see the need for them in the type of tyranny that is being displayed in the 9th Circuit decision, where they're trying to overturn the constitution of the state of California."

Legal observers have long considered the 9th Circuit, which is responsible for ruling the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional and bucking Supreme Court precedent on the interpretation of the Second Amendment, to be one of, if not the most liberal court in the federal judiciary.

Giganti believes only the appointment of conservative judges, who believe in literal interpretation of the Constitution, can counter what he sees as liberal judicial activism on the part of many current judges. He said that Democrats "continue to boldly step forward" in their attacks both on President Bush and his conservative nominees, while Republicans appear unable to counter them.

"We're in the majority, but we don't act like it," Giganti said. "It's about time we take that strength and step forward with it."

While the idea of recess appointments for contested judicial nominees is not new, many congressional Republicans privately say they do not want the White House to pursue the strategy because of the already strained relationship between Democrats and the president. Giganti rejects that reasoning.

"Why is everyone so concerned about everyone else liking them? That should not be the priority in making these decisions," Giganti said. "The decisions that should be made from the president of the United States, through our leadership in the Senate and in the House, is: What is for the best of the country and for the people who elected them?"

Giganti noted that Republicans have no reason to "worry" about whether or not there would be a backlash from Democrats over recess appointments to the federal bench.

"The threat is there, but the fact is, the Democratic side is not going to be friends with President Bush no matter what," Giganti predicted. "So they should just give up on this prospect and actually take the steps forward."

It's not just the nominees who stand to lose, Giganti warned, if President Bush does not take a stand against the liberal senators, who are using the Senate's procedural rules to block constitutionally mandated votes on nominees.

"The president has to take action and soon, in some form, to push these nominees through, both for the good of our judicial system and for the good of the country," Giganti said, "because it's been made clear that the action isn't going to come from the Senate."

The White House did not return calls seeking comment on this story.

E-mail a news tip to Jeff Johnson.

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.