Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, February 7, 2003


Page 16


Bush Nominates Texan Edward Prado for Fifth Circuit


From Staff and Wire Service Reports


WASHINGTON (AP)—President Bush plans to try again to get a Texan on the federal judicial circuit that covers his home state.

Bush yesterday used his first new appellate nomination of the year to tap U.S. District Court Judge Edward Prado of San Antonio for the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. The court, which currently has three vacancies, hears federal appeals from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

His last two nominees for that court, U.S. District Judge Charles Pickering of Mississippi and Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen, were voted down by the Democrat-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee last year. Republicans say they will try again to get them through now that they control the Senate by two votes.

Prado, 55, has been a U.S. District judge since 1984. An appointee of then-President Reagan to the district bench, he is based in San Antonio but has sat in El Paso as well. He has also sat by designation on the Fifth Circuit.

Among his most visible cases were a 2000 challenge to the constitutionality of the exam Texas requires all high school seniors to pass in order to graduate. Prado rejected claims by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and others that the test discriminates on the basis of race.

He is also sentenced millionaire Allen Blackthorne to life imprisonment for interstate conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire and interstate domestic violence in the killing of his former wife, and presided over the criminal trials of eight members of the militant Republic of Texas, a group which refused to accept the lawfulness of U.S. within  the state.

The president also nominated Robert Allen Wherry Jr. of Colorado to a 15-year term on the U.S. Tax Court.

Prado said that while more minorities fail the standardized test, there is no proof that flaws in it are responsible. “The system is not perfect, but the court cannot say that it is unconstitutional,” Prado wrote in January 2000.

The test was challenged by two Hispanic rights groups and several minority students, seeking to ban the standardized test as a requirement for a diploma. They alleged the standardized test discriminates because of the way it is put together and because schools attended mostly by minorities tend to be in poor, low-performing districts that don’t offer an equal opportunity to learn.


Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company