Here’s a passage from the Interfaith Alliance’s document supporting its opposition to William Pryor’s Appeals Court nomination:
Even though Mr. Pryor properly executed a court order demanding the removal of a controversial
monument dedicated to the Ten Commandments in the Alabama Judicial Building, it would be severely
misguided to extrapolate this action by the chief law enforcement officer of the State of Alabama as a
change in philosophy and temperament on the proper separation of religion and government.
Despite Mr. Pryor’s compliance with a court-ordered injunction, nothing has changed in regard to Mr.
Pryor’s personal feelings on the public display of the Ten Commandments. As a matter of fact, in an
August 23, 2003 statement regarding the removal of the monument, he closed with the following
sentence, “The rule of law means that when courts resolve disputes, after all appeals and arguments, we
all must obey the orders of those courts even when we disagree with those orders. The rule of law means
that we can work to change the law but not to defy court orders.” It is exactly this type of judicial activism
from a Justice Pryor that we seek to avoid.
Gee, what more could they ask? Pryor’s recognition of the difference between adjudication and legislation (an understanding that is the very antithesis of "judicial activism") is turned against him, fueled by an unspecific fear, backed by no real evidence (and indeed controverted by the evidence), of how he would behave as a judge.
Update: For the record, here is part of an email I received today (Tuesday, May 25th, after the, ahem, compromise) from the Interfaith Alliance:
As you know by now, the US Senate reached a compromise last night around the pending “nuclear option” and several of the president’s judicial nominees. The Senate compromise is a victory for the rules of the Senate and the separation of powers. While I am pleased that this deal takes the unprecedented “nuclear option” off the table, I am very disappointed that it still allows some of President Bush’s most extreme judicial nominees such as William Pryor to move forward.
The Interfaith Alliance will continue urging Senators to thoroughly examine the merits of each judicial nominee and to oppose those who are a threat to religious liberty in America. Using the language of the compromise itself, I hope a majority of senators will reject Mr. Pryor’s nomination because he represents an “extraordinary circumstance” through his failure to support religious diversity and his lack of commitment to maintaining the institutional separation of religion and government.
I hope this compromise ensures that the integrity of future Supreme Courts remains protected from the undue influences of a vocal, radical faction of the right that is completely out of step with mainstream America.
I am particularly pleased that the senators involved in the compromise specifically cite the U. S. Constitution’s requirement that the President must seek the advice and consent of the Senate. Along with those Senators, The Interfaith Alliance will encourage President Bush to return to the time-honored, constitutional process in which the President of the United States consults with Republican and Democratic Senators and considers their advice before making nominations.
The Interfaith Alliance will also continue to urge the president to realize that nominees who are clearly out of the mainstream of our nation’s judicial philosophy will fail to inspire trust and confidence in the American people.
In other words, the Interfaith Alliance will provide cover for any Democratic Senator who goes back on his word and defies an agreement that in other respects the Interfaith Alliance welcomes. I guess honesty and integrity are not virtues of people of faith, at least as represented by the Interfaith Alliance. I seem to recall something in chapter 18 of Machiavellis The Prince about this.