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Bill Pryor’s Confirmation Hearing Confirms His Extremism

Press Release
Tarek Rizk or Nathan Richter
People For the American Way
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Opposition party senators should not expect a president to nominate judges who reflect their views more than the president’s. But neither should the president attempt to install on the federal bench nominees such as William H. Pryor Jr., the Alabama attorney general who is so openly contemptuous of long-established federal law as well as contemporary social standards that his ability to put those views aside and decide cases on their merits is gravely in doubt.

—The Baltimore Sun, July 6, 2003

On July 17, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on the nomination of Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor to the United States Court of Appeal for the Eleventh Circuit. The June 11 confirmation hearing for 11th Circuit nominee Bill Pryor did not shed much new light on Pryor’s already well-documented ideological extremism, but it did underscore that he is unfit for a lifetime seat on the federal appeals court. Senators must reject his confirmation.

Pryor and some of his allies attempted to use the hearing to moderate Pryor’s record, but their sometimes disingenuous efforts failed. The hearing did, however, permit senators to hear Pryor reaffirm some of his disturbing legal views. Indeed, Pryor’s confirmation hearing and his written responses to senators’ post-hearing questions confirm what was already evident in advance of the hearing. Pryor has been an aggressive advocate for using the law and the courts to turn back the clock on civil rights enforcement, privacy and reproductive choice, and the protection of individual liberties. For more detail on Pryor’s full record, see People For the American Way’s report in opposition to his confirmation.