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Diana L. Courson

Sierra Club Challenges Recess Appointment of Pryor to 11th Circuit

June 1, 2004

Assisted by Zuckerman Spaeder partner William B. Schultz and associate Lisa Barclay, the Sierra Club recently filed a motion to challenge President Bush's recess appointment of William Pryor to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which includes Georgia, Florida and Alabama.

Pryor's confirmation was opposed by a wide range of civil rights and social justice groups back in 2002 when President Bush first nominated him. To their dismay, President Bush made the announcement in February to place Pryor on the federal bench. Those opposed to the appointment cited Pryor's troubling record on the environment, women's rights, and civil rights. Senators who previously refused to confirm Pryor said his record disqualified him from the federal bench.

The Sierra Club, along with Georgia ForestWatch, filed a motion to disqualify Judge Pryor from a case pending in the Eleventh Circuit, Sierra Club v. Leavitt. The motion challenges as unconstitutional the use of a recess appointment over a weekend while Congress is in session and urges the full Eleventh Circuit to declare Judge Pryor's appointment unconstitutional and remove him from participation in cases. If Judge Pryor's appointment is found to be constitutional, his term on the Eleventh Circuit could last for almost two years, even without Senate confirmation.

The Sierra Club and Georgia ForestWatch also are represented by Curtis A. Cox of the Georgia Center for Law in the Public Interest. The petitioners' brought their motion to disqualify in a Sierra Club appeal of consolidated cases that should be scheduled for argument later this year regarding EPA's decisions under the Clean Air Act.

Mr. Schultz and Ms. Barclay drafted the brief as part of Zuckerman Spaeder's pro bono program. To view the 44-page motion in PDF format, select the link on the left.

For more information about Zuckerman Spaeder's Pro Bono Program or the Sierra Club, follow the links in the left hand column.

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