Americans United Urges Senate Judiciary Committee To Reject Appeals Court Nominee Pryor

AU's Lynn Says Former Alabama A.G. Holds Extreme Views On Separation Of Church And State

Americans United for Separation of Church and State today urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote against the confirmation of former Alabama Attorney General William Pryor to a federal appeals court seat.

"Time and again, William Pryor has expressed disdain for the First Amendment principle of church-state separation," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. "Pryor's battle against the church-state wall and other fundamental rights makes him a profoundly poor choice for an appointment to the federal appeals court bench.

"William Pryor may be the Religious Right's dream nominee, but he's everyone else's nightmare," Lynn said. "The Judiciary Committee should reject his nomination."

Pryor was nominated to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals during President George W. Bush's first term. A filibuster blocked the nomination, but during a 2004 Senate recess, Bush granted Pryor a temporary appointment to the court. Earlier this year, Bush renominated him for a seat on the 11th Circuit.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Pryor's nomination either Wednesday or Thursday.

Americans United, among an array of other public interest groups, has fought Pryor's nomination, charging that the nominee wants to roll back federal court precedent that has advanced and protected a host of civil liberties.

In 2003, Americans United issued a report on Pryor's views. It noted that Pryor has backed the display of religious symbols in government buildings, has stated that religion and politics "need to be intertwined" and once asserted that the executive branch of government "does not have to implement [court] rulings with which it disagrees."

 Lynn urged Bush to stop pushing Religious Right ideologues for federal bench appointments and instead send the Senate judicial nominees with the temperament to preside over controversial cases and rule according to constitutional precepts.

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.