During the course of the 2016 presidential election campaign, President-elect Donald Trump unveiled a "short list" of 21 potential replacements for the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Over the weekend, he met with 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge William Pryor, arguably the front-runner for the opening, creating quite a stir that Trump has made up his mind. Through his transition communications team, the president-elect said the announcement would likely come in the second week of his new administration, the week of Jan. 30.
Pryor comes with a mostly conservative record on the federal bench. But he also has several rather large blemishes, which many pro-life and pro-family groups say disqualify him from sitting on the high court. One of those groups, the Personhood Alliance, issued the following statement:
In a February primary debate, Donald Trump mentioned Alabama Judge William Pryor and Wisconsin Judge Diane Sykes as two potential nominees to replace the recently deceased Justice Scalia. Recent reports confirm that these two judges are on the short list. The Personhood Alliance is troubled by the characterization of Judge Pryor as a conservative.
"Not only did Judge Pryor personally prosecute Alabama Judge Roy Moore over his display of the Ten Commandments as Attorney Genera of Alabama" said Daniel Becker, founder and President of Personhood Alliance, "but once he became a federal appeals judge, he issued rulings extending special rights to transgender people while refusing to recognize the religious liberty rights of Christians."
During his first press conference last week, President Elect Donald Trump stated that he will name his nominee to the high court within two weeks of his inauguration on January 20th.
"Judge Pryor is no Scalia, and is manifestly unfit to succeed him," stated Gualberto Garcia Jones, Esq. National Policy Director of Personhood Alliance. "With his track record, we cannot risk having him on the court as we await the Supreme Court to deliberate on the cases considering the rights of children to be protected in their school bathrooms."
The comparison between Judge Pryor and Justice Scalia couldn't be starker. In Obergefell, Justice Scalia refused to go along with the majority's opinion mandating same sex marriage. Yet several years before Obergefell, in two cases decided on the same day in 2011, Judge Pryor as an Eleventh Circuit judge voted (1) that the Equal Protection Clause required reinstatement of a male employee who had been fired for wanting to appear at work dressed as a woman and (2) that a state university did not violate the speech or religious rights of a Christian student who was expelled from a graduate counseling program for refusing to submit to homosexual indoctrination. (The cases are Keeton v. Anderson-Wiley, 664 F.3d 865 (11th Cir. 2011) and Glenn v. Brumby, 663 F.3d 1312 (11th Cir. 2011).
"More than a Scalia, Judge Pryor resembles the long list of Republican-appointed liberal judges" stated Mr. Garcia Jones, and concluded "as Judge Pryor himself once prayed, 'Please, God, no more Souters.'"
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