President Bush’s nomination of Gustavus Puryear IV for a federal judgeship in Tennessee is being opposed by Prison Legal News and the Alliance For Justice, a liberal advocacy group. Puryear is general counsel of Corrections Corporation of America, the largest U.S. private-prison company. He apparently would have to recuse himself in more than 400 federal cases involving CCA that have been filed in the U.S. District Court for Middle Tennessee.
The Alliance for Justice says that Puryear’s “public comments indicate hostility towards civil rights lawsuits in general and to those brought by prisoners in particular.” In a 2004 interview, he said, “Litigation is an outlet for inmates.  It’s something they can do in their spare time.” Alex Friedmann of Prison Legal News says that only one of 130 CCA cases in which he was personally involved went to trial, and he has never litigated a case on his own. Friedmann attributes his nomination to the fact that he worked for former Sens. Bill Frist and Fred Thompson, and served as an adviser to Dick Cheney during the 2000 debates.