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Monday, August 12, 2013

Jessica Garrison's Political Ties Go Beyond Strange; Right-Wing Federal Judge Bill Pryor Is Her "Hero"


Jessica M. Garrison, with Bill Pryor
and Jeff Sessions
Republican operative Jessica Medeiros Garrison has become known in recent weeks for her connections to Luther Strange, including an extramarital affair with the Alabama attorney general. But in a strictly political sense, Garrison's strongest ties might be to another Republican, one of national significance.

We are talking about U.S. Circuit Judge William H. "Bill" Pryor, who entered the spotlight in 2003 when he became President George W. Bush's controversial nominee to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Pryor drew such strong opposition from Democrats, primarily because of his stance against abortion rights, that Bush was forced to make a recess appointment in February 2004. Among the issues at Pryor's confirmation hearing was his decision to schedule a family vacation to Disney World so as not to coincide with the park's "Gay Days" festivities.


Pryor's national profile recently became even stronger when President Obama inexplicably appointed him to a six-year term on the U.S. Sentencing Commission. By statute, the commission must be bipartisan, and at least three of its members must be federal judges. But of all the federal judges in the country, including Republican appointees from Democratic-leaning states, why would Obama choose Bill Pryor? Was it a favor to U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a long-time Pryor supporter?


In a recent newspaper interview, Jessica Garrison lists Bill Pryor as her "real-life hero" and calls him a "mentor" who has given her invaluable advice "since I was in college." (More on that interview in an upcoming post.) The relationship apparently started when Garrison worked as an intern in the attorney general's office under Sessions, and Pryor was one of his chief deputies. When Pryor ascended to the AG's position, Garrison worked for him in public relations and legislative affairs.


Many Alabamians probably assume that Pryor is based in Atlanta, home to the Eleventh Circuit. But he lives in Birmingham and is based at the Hugo Black U.S. Courthouse downtown, where he has an office on the ninth floor.


Pryor's profile, however, extends beyond the courthouse door. He is involved with a Birmingham-based ministry that has connections to the downtown law firm where Garrison serves in an "of counsel" position. And Pryor started the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), which now is Garrison's primary employer.


That raises this question: Has Bill Pryor been involved in the maneuvering that apparently started with the Strange/Garrison affair, her divorce from Tuscaloosa city councilman Lee Garrison, and her effort to modify their custody agreement so she could take a job under Strange at the attorney general's office? More specifically, has Pryor been involved in the curious financial payments and peculiar real-estate transactions that are central to the Strange/Garrison saga?


Pryor is known as "the Johnny Appleseed" of the Federalist Society, the ultra-conservative legal group for which he started chapters in New Orleans and Birmingham. He also is known as a deeply religious sort who wears his Catholic faith for all to see. 


If Bill Pryor is such a moral guy, why would he come anywhere near the mess that Luther Strange and Jessica Garrison have created? Besides that, what kind of mentor is Bill Pryor if one of his acolytes becomes ensnared in a scandal that involves an extramarital affair and other ugliness?


What about Pryor's ties to a Birmingham "ministry"--and why would he be involved in such an organization, given that he is a federal judge in a democracy that supposedly is based, in part, on a separation of church and state?


The Web site for the Fixed Point Foundation states that its mission is "to seek innovative ways to defend and proclaim the Gospel and to prepare Christians to do the same." Prominent among Fixed Point's speakers is Bill Pryor, and he has served as a debate moderator for the foundation. 


Fixed Point's staff includes Will Hill Tankersley, a partner at Birmingham's Balch Bingham, as outside general counsel. The Balch firm happens to be where Jessica Garrison landed an "of counsel" position after having to give up her position in the attorney general's office in order to resolve a custody dispute.

To add to the intrigue, Garrison's primary job is with RAGA, which is an affiliate of the D.C.-based Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC). As we noted in a previous post, Luther Strange has a habit of using RSLC as more or less a money-laundering organization:



We know that Strange takes hypocrisy on gambling issues to monumental dimensions. After all, this is the guy who has tried to shut down non-Indian gaming facilities, such as VictoryLand in Macon County and Center Stage Alabama in Houston County, while taking a $100,000 campaign contribution from the Poarch Creek casinos. This also is the guy who used the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) to help obscure the donation via a PAC-to-PAC transfer.

Federal judges have lifetime appointments, so the public and the press tend to think they are above scrutiny. But perhaps it's time to shine a spotlight on Bill Pryor's ties to the Luther Strange/Jessica Garrison mess.

In the meantime, here is Bill Pryor speaking at a 2007 Federalist Society symposium on morality and the law:




42 comments:

Anonymous said...

What exactly is the story here? A Republican lawyer views a prominent Republican judge for whom she worked as a hero? What exactly is odd about that? Despite the breathless tone, there seems to be nothing whatsoever at the heart of this "story."

I note that you're still reporting the alleged extramarital affair between Strange and Garrison as fact, despite having presented no evidence of this. And now you're using that alleged affair to smear Pryor as what? A bad role model?

Anonymous said...

This opportunity to further expose Bill pryor for the political and legal hypocrite he is cannot go unaddressed after listening to his federalist speech.I would be astonished if any of the federalist membership knew that when Bill Pryor was Alabama's Attorney General his deliberate refusals, after having been made cognizant repeatedly, him being requested of too to investigate the shotgun assassination of one of his fellow Alabama law enforcement officers, a black narcotics detective, a Vietnam veteran, husband with two children. Bill Pryor made a conscious decision to voluntarily violate his oath of office that he takes pride in promoting during his speech, he makes a mockery out of this fellow law enforcement officer's murder by continuously advocating his fidelity and morality; and religious convictions when discussing his dedications to the law and right. Bill Pryor whether will ever be known publicly or not, he has known, will continue to know, has forever stained his sworn oath to office forever as well as those in concert with. Intentionally choosing to spit in the face of the "moral obligations to obey the law" he presented to the federalist audience. So much for Bill Pryor's left hand on bible, his faith, as he suggest when wondering what he meant by "SO HELP ME GOD." Any reasonable average minded person's logical conclusion upon their own inquiries will determine for themselves the aforementioned is factually true and correct, that Bill Pryor during his official capacities while under color of law did in fact himself become complicit in the covering up of the murder assassination of Narcotics Detective Robert Jackson.
But not limited to Bill Pryor, also Jeff Sessions, Troy King, and now Luther Stange and Bob Riley; while Alabamians have never known, while political circles have never known; because it's a Political Pandora's Box. Alabamians should find within themselves personal integrities to stand making publicly known this heinous tragedy is to long overdue resolved.

Anonymous said...

Jessica is tight with a long line of right-wing attorneys general, it seems. Unlike @9:26, I find this to be quite intriguing.

Anonymous said...

Of the people who are responsible for Don Siegelman unlawfully being in prison, Bill Pryor is near the top of the list. He needs to be scrutinized, and someday, I hope this phony burns in hell.

Anonymous said...

Hey, @9:26, what kind of evidence would convince you that the Strange-Garrison affair is fact? Do we need photos of Luther and Jessica in "the act"? The mere thought makes my skin crawl, but is that what we need to convince you? LS has stated that his reporting is based on information from multiple informed sources who wish to remain anonymous, primarily because Luther Strange is attorney general and could easily retaliate against them. To borrow your own phrase, "What exactly is odd about that?"

Gerry with a G said...

Gee, I've never heard of the Fixed Point Foundation--and it's right here in Bham. Thanks for educating me. I wasn't aware that the Gospel and Christianity needed to be defended. Seems to me there is a church on every other corner. That's not enough?

Anonymous said...

Bill Pryor and Jeff Sessions are two of the most dreadful worms this state ever has turned out--and that's saying something. That Jessica Garrison touts her connections to them . . . well, that speaks volumes about her.

Anonymous said...

Bill Pryor rescheduled a family vacation to avoid Gay Days at Disney World? Wow, never heard that one.

Anonymous said...

Bill Pryor told Fob James - before Fob appointed him AG - that he would absolutely defend Roy Moore and the Ten Commandments monument. He said that to Fob's face - Fob would NOT have appointed him otherwise. He lied - right to the governor of Alabama. Fob will tell you that. Regardless of where you stand on Roy Moore, Pryor's bald-faced dishonesty is disconcerting.

Anonymous said...

Fixed Point sponsored a debate on God v. Atheism, featuring Christopher Hitchens. I was there, and it was an excellent event. Have to give them credit for that.

Anonymous said...

Bill was afraid his wife would meet some of his close(t) friends at Gay Days . . .

Anonymous said...

God v. Atheism was fantastic, especially when God was joined in the ring by Hulk Hogan while Atheism was joined by Andre the Giant for an incredible Texas Death Cage Tag Team match. Robert Goulet crooned the national anthem and Judge Mills Lane was joined by Judge Roy Moore as the referee.

Anonymous said...

I think the story is that Jessica Garrison is more connected to high-level GOP circles than most of us realized, @9:26. Maybe you knew of her ties to Bill Pryor, but I didn't. Maybe you knew of Fixed Point, and its connections to Balch Bingham, but I didn't. Maybe you knew Bill Pryor was "the Johnny Appleseed" of Federalist Society, but I didn't. Maybe you knew Bill Pryor started RAGA, where Jessica Garrison now works, but I didn't. I consider this to be an important "story," whether you do or not.

legalschnauzer said...

That's a very interesting story about Fob James and Bill Pryor, @10:44. Has Fob James ever been quoted publicly on the subject? I take it Fob is not a big fan of Bill Pryor?

Anonymous said...

O.K. to Anonymous Number One this a.m.: The Story here is this: Bill Pryor is a Judge, a very important judge and he associates himself with the Fixed Point Foundation which is self described as a Religious Think Tank here in Alabama. Why does Mr. Pryor feel that it is o.k. to associate himself and participate in debates and meetings and prayer breakfasts with the Fixed Point Nutcases? There used to be a thing called seperation of church and state.....Mr. Pryor needs to disassociate himself with the church fanatics, Larry Taunton and the Fixed Point Foundation. If this union of Pryors and Taunton and the foundation continues one might start to ask this question: Does the foundation fund some of the Judge's court decisions via Pryor and the foundation's religious beliefs that they try to spoonfeed us daily? Second part of this story exposes Balch and Bingham Law firm and their at counsel ??? person, Ms. Garrison along with Luther Strange and their so called conservative relationships with Judge Pryor...it is a veritable smorgasbord of sex, religion, payoffs, favors, free houses, and money being poured into the fixed point foundation from wealthy, powerful elites in Mtn Brook and Bham to influence the laws that keep the small, poor, and middle class down, under the police/mafia's thumb. Wake Up, smell the coffee, READ and don't ask me to explain this further.

Anonymous said...

Well stated, @10:51. All sorts of stuff in this post that I didn't know. Bill Pryor's office is in downtown Birmingham, and he lives here? I had no idea. I thought maybe the only good thing about his appointment to 11th Circuit is that Alabama was rid of him, and he now lives in Georgia.

Anonymous said...

I hear there is a lot of bitterness beneath the surface in judicial circles regarding Pryor's appointment to 11th Circuit. Sharon Blackburn, presiding judge in Northern District of AL, is one who was expected to be a strong contender. And unlike Pryor, she's actually qualified, with a lot of judicial experience. Even quite a few Republicans still are wondering how in the hell Pryor got that job.

Anonymous said...

I love the Gay Days story. What a classic. Bill didn't want his daughters to be around a bunch of gay men? Heck, the girls should have been uber safe in that crowd.

Anonymous said...

LS, I don't know if Fob has been quoted on Bill Pryor lying to him, but Tim James has told people the story on numerous occasions. He may have stated it for the record at some pont.

Anonymous said...

I just spewed coffee across my kitchen, thanks to @10:45.

Anonymous said...

BTW Fob and Tim James both despise Bill Pryor.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic comment, @11:02. Kicks serious butt.

David in S. Alabama said...

Another question that needs answering - have Jessica and bill known each other in the biblical sense?

Anonymous said...

Is one of Bill Pryor's eyes slightly off center? Mike Joiner, the judge in the Dorothea Batiste case, is clearly cross-eyed. Is there something about Republican judges and this affliction?

Anonymous said...

How does this post "smear" Bill Pryor, @9:26. Is there a single word in it that isn't true?

Anonymous said...

Judge Pryor settles a case in Georgia where he quotes the B-52's song "Love Shack".....http://www.ca11.uscourts.gov/opinions/ops/200315685.pdf

Anonymous said...

So was Pryor's appointment to the 11th some sort of correlation with the Seigleman/ Scrushy situation? I recall reading and hearing that Pryor Played a role in the Seigleman takedown.

Anonymous said...

Apparently judge Pryor likes transgenders....especially when he is posturing for a higher court position before the presidential election....http://www.projectqatlanta.com/news_articles/view/anti-gay_judge_bill_pryor_warms_to_trans_women

Anonymous said...

@11:56--

I think Republican judges become cross-eyed from straining to present all that propriety and rectitude.

legalschnauzer said...

Pryor played a huge role in the Siegelman/Scrushy takedown, @12:08. He started the Siegelman investigation, as Alabama AG, almost from the moment the gov. was elected. That state investigation morphed into a federal probe, but it started with Pryor. Then when the 2002 election apparently was stolen overnight, Pryor sealed the ballots and threatened to arrest anyone who sought to recount them. A number of informed commentators have suggested Pryor's appointment to 11th Circuit was a reward for his work on the Siegelman case.

Anonymous said...

This excerpt from a letter written for Bill Pryor's appointment by Jeff Sessions. Notice he likes to talk about what his parents taught him as Luther Strange does also. Are they all just little lord fauntleroys in men's suits and ties? So infantile.

Anonymous said...

Oh here is the excerpt: was taught by my parents from early on never to laugh at somebody's religion, never to make fun of it, respect people's personal faith. I think that is a classic American principle we ought to live by. I would say that is what is happening in a subtle but very practical way is that Bill Pryor's strongly held beliefs, pro-life beliefs, are being attacked. Therefore, they are suggesting he is not fit for the bench because he has these beliefs and those beliefs just happen to be the same beliefs of the Catholic Church and many other church groups throughout America.

Anonymous said...

I think Judge Pryor rules and decides the cases in his courts based upon his own personal belief system which is tilted, biased, racist, misogynistic, pro life, and worse. He needs to remember that he is a paid civil servant and that means that he is there to serve the needs of all people, not just catholics, and religious zealots. Then Obama tries to appoint him to the commission on sentencing....read this NY Times article about his behavior and his beliefs.http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1420088/posts

Anonymous said...

The main point of this post, in my view, is that it shows Jessica Garrison has been an ambitious political climber for a long time. She put her marriage at risk to feed her ambitions, and the affair with Big Luther might wind up with serious repercussions for a number of folks.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know that Jessica Garrison is aware of Luther Strange as Attorney General is refusing to allow his chief investigator authorization to pursue opening investigation into the covered up murder of fellow Alabama law enforcement officer; or if Fixed Point Foundation also is aware of Bill Pryor as Attorney General caused to have an elderly black man sit outside his offices until closing time w/o ever meeting w/him to take his statement pertaining to Pryor's fellow law enforcement officer's murder. Even more suspect and suspicious were incidents occurring after Governor Siegelman had instructed Pryor to investigate after Siegelman first learning just prior to the 2002 election; think about it for a minute....re-election, bid for 2006election, there remained those left to wonder what Siegelman had known by late 2002; by 2006 what had he come to know that couldn't be taken a chance on him getting re-elected and acting upon publicly. Siegelman didn't know anything in details by end of administration, he had been out of the loop, anticipating his re-election taking action proved mistake. But, to Siegelman's credit at least he did respond to a very basic [non-detailed] letter of notification, Pryor during his all his years as Alabama's Attorney General never did once, why? Maybe the RNLC or Federalist should be contacted and maybe they would know, why? Or Luther/Jeff.

Anonymous said...

LS, I've had acid indigestion ever since viewing that pic of Pryor and Sessions in the same frame, with smiling Jess in between. A stout test for a those of us with weak stomachs.

Robby Scott Hill said...

Ever notice how when you repeatedly blog about folks like Joiner, Garrison & Strange they get appointed or elected to high level office? I'm expecting Garrison to become the next General Counsel of the State Bar or the next Appellate Justice. I would be disappointed if she didn't. This wouldn't be Alabama if she didn't. So, I'm dating as many female lawyers as I can & I want you to blog about it frequently. I should become Governor within 6 years with your cooperation. LOL

legalschnauzer said...

Sounds like a plan, Rob. Can I be on your staff? I want a really nice office, like the one Mike Hubbard has.

Anonymous said...

This is 12:08. Sure looks like it. What's with the transgender insinuations? Is Pryor gay? I thought Troy King was gay? Or are they both gay? Or am I mixing them up? Who's gay?

Anonymous said...

Jessica would be a helluva lot cooler if her hero was RICHARD Pryor . . . .

e.a.f. said...

In some "criminal organizations" it is not unheard of to use a woman to keep track of the actions of one of the senior "actors" which the organization isn't sure of, yet. At one time these women married the man. In today's world, it is just as useful to have "an affair". For a bunch of "christians", they do seem to spend a lot of time breaking the 10 commandments.

I'd suggest the Hell's Angels are less corrupt than some of those "christian" politicians.

RoadRidgeGirl said...

What a bunch of sleaze ball, vile, evil crooks. Bill Pryor is right at the top, along with beady-eyed Jeff Sessions.

He's the sob that federalized the Siegelman witch-hunt. When Siegelman wanted to join in with other states and get compensation from Big Tobacco for the health harm they'd caused to Alabamians, Pryor sided with Big Tobacco. Siegelman said Pryor was too cozy with Big Tobacco. The "family values" man, Pryor, held it against Don from then on. He cost the state of Alabama millions of dollars by siding with Big Tobacco and against Alabama. Yes, he along with the Bill and Leura Canary are the reason Don Siegelman rots in prison in Louisiana.