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President Bush has again bypassed the Senate to appoint a controversial appeals court nominee. On Friday, Bush installed Alabama’s AG, William Pryor, to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Democratic lawmakers had previously stalled the confirmation of the 41-year-old founder of the Republican Attorneys General Association and outspoken critic of Roe v. Wade. With Congress out for the Presidents’ Day holiday, Bush was free to make a recess appointment, as he did one month ago, when he elevated Charles Pickering to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals … Meanwhile, Canadian lawmakers are pushing to model their high court selection on the usual U.S. process. Currently, the prime minister appoints justices directly. The issue is again fresh, as high court Justice Louise Arbour announced she’s leaving to become U.N. human rights commissioner. She’ll replace Sergio Vieira de Mello, killed in the August bombing of U.N. headquarters in Baghdad … Detroit’s largest firm has swept into the Windy City to pick up 78-lawyer Rooks Pitts. Dykema Gossett’s acquisition of the 107-year-old, litigation-based practice will push the combined firm’s numbers to near 400 attorneys. The deal, which goes live April 1, could ignite a Chicago price war, as Dykema Gossett says it plans to keep average partner rates near $300 an hour — about half of big firm rates … Gay marriage enjoyed a desert bloom in New Mexico Friday. A Sandoval County clerk issued 26 same-sex licenses before the state’s AG ordered her to stopDriving while watching porn has earned a New York man a place in law enforcement history. Andre Gainey, 35, was charged with public display of offensive material, driving with a suspended license and driving while watching TV. Gainey had adjusted a screen-embedded passenger-side visor in his Mercedes so he could tune in to “Chocolate Foam.” – Lori Patel

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