Kennedy Questions Bush Recess Appointment
The Honolulu Advertiser
President Bush's appointment of former Alabama Attorney General William Pryor to the U.S. Appeals Court during a congressional recess may be unconstitutional, contends Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. The appointment came on the last day of Congress's weeklong President's Day holiday break. The Constitution gives the president authority to install nominees in office when Congress is not in session.
In a letter released Monday, Kennedy, a high-ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that "a serious question exists as to whether Judge Pryor's recess appointment is constitutional." He asked the court to determine the validity of the appointment, so as to not taint any decisions in which Pryor may be involved.
Recess appointments can only come "at the end of a Congress or the recess between the annual sessions of Congress," Kennedy wrote. "No other Article III judge in the nation's history has ever received a recess appointment during a brief holiday period in the midst of a session of Congress," Kennedy added in a memo attached to the letter.