A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that President Bush’s appointment of former Alabama Attorney General William Pryor to the bench was legal even though the Senate was on a break at the time.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a challenge by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who argued that Pryor’s appointment to the court was an end run around the Senate’s right to confirm or reject the president’s judicial nominees.
“We are not persuaded that the president acted beyond his authority in this case: both the words of the Constitution and the history of the nation support the president’s authority,” the court said.
Bush appointed Pryor in February during a one-week recess of the Senate.
The Constitution gives the president the right to appoint judges directly when Congress is not in session. But Kennedy and others argued that right is valid only at the end of a Congress or during the recess between annual sessions, not during short breaks.