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Senate committee again falters on Bush judicial nominees

WASHINGTON (BP)–None of President Bush’s appellate court nominees gained Senate committee approval Sept. 29 as Congress prepared to enter a recess that will stretch past election day.

The Judiciary Committee failed to act on four appeals court selections when Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, the leading Democratic on the panel, objected. The committee will not meet again until Congress returns for a session after the Nov. 7 election. The Senate was expected to recess by Sept. 30.

The latest inaction enforces the appearance that the nominees will not receive confirmation votes before this session adjourns.

The nominees who again failed to receive committee votes were Terrence Boyle and William Haynes, both selections for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals; William Myers, a Ninth Circuit choice; and District of Columbia Circuit nominee Peter Keisler.

The committee’s failure to act on the four recommendations continued a pattern of Democratic opposition to numerous Bush nominees. Liberals have criticized and worked to block nominees they perceive as too conservative, especially on issues such as abortion and homosexual rights.

No one has been blocked as long as Boyle, who was first nominated by the president in 2001.

Messengers to this year’s Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in June in Greensboro, N.C., passed a resolution encouraging the president to continue to nominate “strict constructionist judges” and urging the Senate to vote on all nominees. SBC messengers approved a similar measure in 2005.

The committee approved eight district court judges in its Sept. 29 meeting.

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