WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush bypassed Congress and installed Charles Pickering on the federal appeals court Friday in an election-year slap at Democrats who had blocked the nomination for more than two years.
Bush installed Pickering by a recess appointment, which avoids the confirmation process. Such appointments are valid until the next Congress takes office, in this case in January 2005.
...Another Democrat, Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, said, ``It is quite unfortunate that the president has chosen to seat Judge Pickering only days before the nation celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.''
Thompson said that while on the federal bench in Mississippi, Pickering had sought to ``limit minority voting strength and to stifle the rights of women -- counter to everything Dr. King and the civil rights movement were all about.''
...During Pickering's nomination hearing, Republicans accused Democrats of being religiously biased against Bush's anti-abortion nominees, a theme they continued with Estrada and other Bush anti-abortion nominees.