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Disorder in the Court

Conservatives pack the U.S. Supreme Court, and they put President Bush into office. Now Bush wants to return the favor by juicing the federal appellate bench with hard-right ideologues.

Take Carolyn Kuhl, a nominee to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, who, as a deputy attorney general, argued aggressively to overturn Roe v. Wade. When the IRS refused tax-exempt status in 1981 to Bob Jones University, a fundamentalist Christian school that prohibited interracial dating and marriage on pain of expulsion, it was Kuhl who fought to retain its status.

Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor, another nominee for a federal judgeship, is best known for teaming up with Pat Robertson in a court effort to defend student-led prayer in public schools. He once suggested that judges who repeatedly subvert the popular will and rewrite constitutional law should be impeached and called Roe v. Wade “the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history.”

Also up for lifetime seats are Arkansas lawyer and former president of Arkansas Right to Life James Leon Holmes, who equated Americans who support abortion rights to Nazis, and Texas Judge Priscilla Owen, who was condemned by civil rights attorneys for her record of indifference when she attempted to rewrite a key Texas civil rights law that would have made it much more difficult for employees to prove a violation of their rights.

Filibuster, anyone?