Senate strikes compromise in filibuster fight

By |2018-01-15T18:39:52-05:00October 31st, 2017|Uncategorized|

Compiled by Dawn Wolfe Gutterman

WASHINGTON – At the very last possible minute, fourteen moderate Senators banded together to save the filibuster, the procedural move that has kept the worst of George W. Bush’s judicial nominees off the federal bench. As part of the deal, Henry Saad, a judicial activist against worker’s rights, was kept off the Sixth Circuit, which serves Michigan. Also off the table is William G. Myers, a Ninth Circuit nominee opposed by environmental and feminist groups.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that three of Bush’s most extreme activist justices – Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown, and William Pryor – are about to go to the full Senate for a vote. All three justices were filibustered when first nominated because of their extreme views. All three are opposed by major LGBT advocacy groups. They are:

William H. Pryor, Jr.
Pryor, who was given a recess appointment by Bush in 2004, argued in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas that it is constitutional to imprison gays and lesbians for private, consensual sex. Pryor has argued that individual rights and freedoms should be decided by majority vote regardless of whether constitutional rights are violated. His nomination is opposed by all major LGBT advocacy groups.

Janice Rogers Brown
Brown was first nominated in 2003, and is opposed by civil rights, environmental and feminist organizations including the Congressional Black Caucus, AFL-CIO, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Priscilla Owen
Owen was first nominated in 2001, and is opposed by organizations including the Alliance for Justice, Friends of the Earth, and Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Learn more:

Save Our Courts:
People for the American Way:
Independent Judiciary – a project of the Alliance for Justice:

Speak OUT!

Tell our Senators you oppose George W. Bush’s judicial nominees!

Senator Carl Levin – 269 Russell Office Building, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510-2202. Call 202-224-6221. Email Senator Levin by visiting the Contact Center on his website at

Senator Debbie Stabenow – 133 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
Call 202-224-4822 or TTY: 202-224-2066 or e-mail [email protected].

Remaining Sixth Circuit Nominees:

Richard Griffin
First Nominated: 5/15/2003
Status: Filibustered
According to the Alliance for Justice, “Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Richard A. Griffin … is a deeply conservative jurist. Judge Griffin has not been shy about articulating how he would rule if he were not constrained by precedent. Almost invariably those personal preferences favor a narrow reading of the rights and protections afforded to litigants who come before him, especially in the areas of civil and workers’ rights.” Griffin is opposed by both Michigan Senators.

David McKeague
First Nominated: 11/8/2001
Status: Filibustered
According to the Alliance for Justice, “McKeague is a staunch conservative with a record suggesting a bias against some plaintiffs, a predisposition to grant summary judgment to civil defendants, and poor temperament. McKeague also has strong ties to the Republican Party and to the country’s right wing establishment; he has long been a major player in Republican Party politics.” McKeague, who is from Michigan, is opposed by both of the state’s Senators.

Other Nominees

Terrence Boyle
First Nominated: 5/9/2001
Nominated to: U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit
Status: Renominated 1/7/2003 and 2/14/2005
According to the Alliance for Justice, Boyle “has repeatedly ignored established law to dismiss discrimination claims.” Boyle has been reversed by higher courts over 150 times. According to Save Our Courts, Boyle “has a long history of hostility to civil rights precedents, one-sided support for states’ rights, as well as an unusually high rate of reversed decisions.” Boyle is opposed by groups including the Human Rights Campaign, the NAACP, the National Bar Association, and People for the American Way.

Thomas B. Griffith
First Nominated: 5/10/2004
Nominated to: U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
According to the Alliance for Justice, Griffith has practiced law “while not a member of any bar,” and has “sought to jettison established rules under Title IX, the landmark law that increased female participation in school athletics.” Griffith is opposed by groups including the American Association of University Women, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and the National Partnership for Families.

William Haynes II
First Nominated: 9/29/2003
Nominated to: U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit
According to Save Our Courts, “Department of Defense General Counsel William Haynes, nominated to the Fourth Circuit, played a central role in the decision to hold American citizens as enemy combatants with virtually no access to civilian courts or to counsel, and the decision to hold detainees at Guantanamo Bay without the protections of the Geneva Convention.”

Brett M. Kavanaugh
First Nominated: 7/25/2003
Nominated to: U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
According to Save Our Courts, “A review of Brett Kavanaugh’s record reveals the strident workings of a political operative, not the legal experience and judgment necessary for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit.” Kavanaugh is opposed by groups including the NAACP, National Organization for Women and the AFL-CIO.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.