[JURIST] President Bush [official website] announced [press release] on Wednesday the nominations of five people to serve as federal appeals court judges on the US Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Circuits. The nomination of the five conservatives has already caused concern among Senate leaders with a spokesman for Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid [official profile] labeling the announcement "extremely divisive" and criticizing Bush for not attempting to work with both parties on the issue of judicial nominations. The Alliance for Justice [advocacy website] President Nan Aron [profile] also criticized the president, saying in a prepared statement [text] that "Rather than playing politics with our nation's courts, the president should send up nominees who are fair, just and qualified." Bush maintained that "we need people on the bench who will strictly interpret the Constitution and not use the bench to legislate."
Among the nominees are North Carolina Judge Terrence Boyle [White House profile], whom the president had previously nominated last year [JURIST report] and William James Haynes II [White House profile], who helped create the Bush administration's controversial policy toward detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Lead Democrats have already stated that the party will attempt to filibuster Boyle's nomination [JURIST report]. Haynes, currently general counsel for the Defense Department, has also previously been nominated and has faced strong opposition [JURIST report] from a group of retired military officers as well as Senate Democrats. AP has more.