|Judge Bill Pryor (left), nude Bill Pryor|
If nominated and confirmed, Pryor likely would be the first high-court justice to have posed nude for photos that have appeared at various gay-pornography Web sites, including bad.puppy.com, considered one of the leading sites in the industry. This would be quite a feat for a judge who has a history of making homophobic statements and taking anti-LGBT stances.
Pryor currently sits on the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which is based in Atlanta. But his duty station, and his office, are at the Hugo Black Courthouse in Birmingham. He lives at 2474 Tyler Rd. in the Birmingham suburb of Vestavia Hills. From the ATL report, by founder and managing editor David Lat:
On Saturday afternoon, here in cold and snowy New York, President-elect Donald Trump interviewed Judge William Pryor of the Eleventh Circuit for the open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. The opportunity to meet with PEOTUS to talk about SCOTUS must have lifted Judge Pryor’s spirits, in the wake of the loss of his beloved Crimson Tide in Monday’s football championship.
The news of a Trump/Pryor meeting, while notable, is not surprising. At last week’s press conference, Trump said that SCOTUS meetings are underway and we should expect a nominee within two weeks of inauguration day. And Judge Pryor, beloved by conservatives, sits at the top of the Trump SCOTUS list.
Lat repeats what has been known for weeks: That Pryor is a favorite to take the seat vacated by the late Antonin Scalia, not because of his credentials or intellect, but because of his ties to Jeff Sessions, Trump's pick as attorney general. And as we will report shortly, those connections are much closer (and personal) than most might imagine. After all, it's a poorly kept secret that Sessions is a closeted homosexual who is subject to blackmail, and so is Pryor. Both are former Alabama attorneys general, and that office has a history of turning out closeted, right-wing homosexuals who are staunchly anti-gay in their public life. From David Lat:
What are Judge Pryor’s chances of getting nominated? Here’s a big plus for Pryor’s prospects: the ease with which Jeff Sessions sailed through his hearings, making his confirmation as attorney general a near certainty. It helps in at least two ways.
First, Sessions is a major Pryor proponent — and now that Sessions is definitely going to be AG, having killed it at his hearings, his Trumpworld stock is way up and his views enjoy greater sway within the administration.
Sessions and Pryor are close friends and have known each for more than 20 years. They met in 1994, when Sessions was running for Alabama attorney general and a mutual friend introduced them. After Sessions won, he hired Bill Pryor as his deputy attorney general. Sessions cited Pryor’s work for him, among many other factors, when he spoke glowingly about Pryor at his Eleventh Circuit confirmation hearings in 2003 and 2005.
Second, the success of Sessions shows that what gets liberals all hot and bothered isn’t necessarily enough to stop a nominee — and this might encourage the Trump Administration to “go bold,” swing for the fences, and put up Pryor.
Lat is correct that Sessions and Pryor are close. The public soon will learn here at Legal Schnauzer just how close they are -- and have been. Here is how Lat, who holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard and a law degree from Yale, analyzes Pryor's chances:
Judge Pryor, more than any other potential Trump nominee, triggers strong opposition from liberal interest groups — civil rights groups, LGBT groups, and especially pro-abortion groups, who loathe his comments about Roe v. Wade (“worst abomination in the history of constitutional law”). But Jeff Sessions similarly entered his hearings as a hardline conservative with a Louis Vuitton steamer trunk of baggage, including accusations of racism that kept him off the federal bench in 1986.
|Bill Pryor house in Vestavia Hills, AL|
Judge Pryor is very conservative and very outspoken — but he’s also very smart and a stickler for preparation, and he would likely perform well at confirmation hearings. He might not be able to bob and weave around the issues as well as some other nominees, given his paper trail and past pronouncements (and he might not even bother to; recall how he refused to disavow his “Roe is an abomination” comment in his 2005 hearings). But Bill Pryor is not going to self-immolate like Robert Bork in 1987; he’s too shrewd for that. And short of a self-immolation, he has a solid shot of winning confirmation, with 52 Republicans in the Senate . . .
In my view, Lat greatly overrates Pryor's intelligence and shrewdness. But Lat acknowledges that Republican trickery might be needed to get Pryor through:
Could the Democrats filibuster? Yes; the filibuster has not been eliminated for Supreme Court nominees. But as Ilya Shapiro points out, nothing prevents Republicans from exercising the “nuclear option” and eliminating the filibuster for SCOTUS nominees, just as the Democrats did for lower-court nominees. And if that’s what it takes to put Judge Pryor on SCOTUS, I could certainly see the Republicans doing it.
Would the Republicans pay a political price for “going nuclear”? Probably not; the Democrats didn’t. And as we learned from what happened to Chief Judge Merrick Garland’s SCOTUS nomination, the American public as a whole doesn’t get that worked up about the Court, at least not if it sounds like “technicalities.” If the American people couldn’t get excited over the Senate’s “advice and consent” duty, they certainly won’t get excited over judicial filibusters. Joe Sixpack will see a vote tally for the Pryor nomination in the newspaper the next day — even a straight party-line vote, 52-48 — and will think to himself, “Guy won a majority, sounds fair to me!”
Any chance the gay-porn issue will arise, especially given that Pryor almost certainly lied about it to the FBI and the Senate in his previous confirmation hearings? Well, Republicans certainly won't bring it up. And it's hard to imagine a Democrat having the guts to do it. That means Pryor likely will be confirmed easily, and even though he surely will be an abominable justice, his elevation might be good news for those who live in the Eleventh Circuit (Alabama, Georgia, Florida). It has been reported that, because of his closeted gay status, Pryor is subject to blackmail and has been used to fix cases to suit corporate GOP interests led by Karl Rove -- Pryor's former campaign manager in Alabama.
With Pryor on the nation's high court, he might do less damage to Alabama than he already has. What will he do to the rest of the country? Well, that likely will not be pretty.