|Donald Trump during his "Second Amendment people" speech|
What's the issue that got overlooked? Well, it involves a federal judge from Alabama, a guy named Bill Pryor. Reporter Jay Michaelson picked up on it in a Daily Beast articled titled "Donald Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Would Kill the ‘Right to Remain Silent’ Warning." From the Michaelson piece:
Just a few sentences after the “Second Amendment” remark, Trump boasted, “we have such great Justices, you saw my list of 11 that have been vetted and respected.” At the top of the list—prepared not by Trump but by the Heritage Foundation, the conservative-to-libertarian think tank funded by the Coors family, the Koch Brothers, the Bradley Foundation, the Scaife Foundation, and the Olin Foundation, some of the same funders who have blocked the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland—is Judge William Pryor of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
Michaelson then reminds Americans of extremist views Pryor has expressed in the past -- and how they could radically alter our democracy if a President Trump were to nominate Pryor for the U.S. Supreme Court. After noting Pryor's staunch -- and in my view, wildly unlawful -- opposition to abortion rights under Roe v. Wade, Michaelson writes:
Pryor is also (in-)famous for a 2000 speech he gave (to the Heritage Foundation, incidentally) in which he called Miranda v. Arizona one of the two “worst examples of judicial activism.” (The other, of course, was Roe.) If you’ve ever watched a cop series on TV, you know Miranda—that’s the case that required police to tell arrestees “you have the right to remain silent.”
In Pryor’s world, those warnings wouldn’t exist.
The U.S. Supreme Court more or less gutted Miranda with a 2013 ruling styled Salinas v. Texas. If BIll Pryor were to wind up on the high court, via a Trump presidency, it might wipe out Miranda altogether.
Consider a few troubling implications from such an outcome:
* Miranda applies not only to those arrested and charged with a crime, but also to those who have been detained in a "custodial investigation." In other words, some of these people have not even been accused of doing anything wrong.
|Bill Pryor, in a gay-porn pose|
from the 1990s and badpuppy.com
In an otherwise fine article, Michaelson makes one mistake. Here's how he refers to Pryor:
Now, Bill Pryor is, by all accounts, a distinguished and ethical jurist. Born in 1962, he has had a brilliant career, serving as Alabama’s youngest attorney general from 1997-2003 before being nominated by President George W. Bush to a federal appeals court.
Those of us who have followed Pryor's career closely know he is neither distinguished nor ethical -- and his career has been anything but brilliant.
We have shown that, as a college student, Pryor posed nude for photographs that wound up at the badpuppy.com gay-porn Web site, and he almost certainly failed to mention that in his confirmation hearings, which would constitute lying to Congress. Because of his gay-porn background, Pryor is subject to being controlled, even blackmailed, according to multiple news reports. Pryor perhaps is best known for launching (while Alabama AG) an investigation of former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman, leading to perhaps the most notorious political prosecution in American history.
Pryor's investigation, which turned into a federal probe, started after Siegelman had been in office for roughly three months. (Question: How could Pryor have probable cause to open such an investigation when Siegelman had been in office barely 12 weeks? Answer: He couldn't, which points to the investigation being driven by politics, not facts or law.)
As for Donald Trump, he vanquished the Republican primary field largely because of his ability to entertain and shock audiences. His comment about Hillary Clinton was perhaps his most shocking statement yet. But that should not lull Americans into thinking that Trump is a mere sideshow. He's running for the highest office in the land, and the thought of Bill Pryor on the Supreme Court should scare the daylights out of any thinking American who cherishes civil liberties and the rule of law.
Meanwhile, we have this question: Is Trump's campaign so out to lunch that no one is aware of Pryor's ties to 1990s gay porn? Trump claims that everyone on his "great" list of 11 potential justices has been vetted? Sure doesn't look like it with Bill Pryor. Does that suggest Trump is lying, or he just has no clue?