By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday May 18, Presumed Republican Presidential nominee Donald J. Trump released has list of people he would consider as potential replacements for Justice Scalia at the United States Supreme Court. Prominent on that list was former Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor (R), now a federal appeals judge.
Mr. Trump stated, “Justice Scalia was a remarkable person and a brilliant Supreme Court Justice. His career was defined by his reverence for the Constitution and his legacy of protecting Americans’ most cherished freedoms. He was a Justice who did not believe in legislating from the bench and he is a person whom I held in the highest regard and will always greatly respect his intelligence and conviction to uphold the Constitution of our country. The following list of potential Supreme Court justices is representative of the kind of constitutional principles I value and, as President, I plan to use this list as a guide to nominate our next United States Supreme Court Justices.”
William H. “Bill” Pryor, Jr. of Alabama is currently a judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He was appointed to the court in 2004, by then President George W. Bush (R). Judge Pryor became the Alabama Attorney General in 1997 when Alabama Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) was elected to the US Senate to replace the retiring Sen. Howell Heflin (D). Judge Pryor was then elected in his own right in 1998 and reelected in 2002. In 2013, Judge Pryor was confirmed to a term on the United States Sentencing Commission. Judge Pryor received his law degree from Tulane, and he clerked for Judge John Minor Wisdom of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Other candidates include: Steven Colloton, a judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit; Allison Eid, an associate justice of the Colorado Supreme Court; Raymond Gruender of Missouri, a judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit; Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania, a judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; Raymond Kethledge of Michigan, a judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit; Joan Larsen, an Associate Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court; Thomas Lee, an Associate Justice of the Utah Supreme Court; David Stras, an Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court; Diane Sykes of Wisconsin, a judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit; and Don Willett, a Justice of the Texas Supreme Court.
Judge Pryor may have a leg up on the competition because of his close relationship with Senator Jeff Sessions. Sessions helped write Trump’s border security plan, loaned Trump’s campaign staff, and was the first member of Congress to endorse the billionaire businessman for President. Sessions appeared on stage with Trump in Mobile in the summer of 2015.
Republicans in the Senate have vowed to never confirm any Obama appointee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia thus the court is operating one short.
While Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee, he still is campaigning for delegates. He has 1160 after his win in Oregon on Tuesday and needs 1237, which appears certain at this point. Most polls show Trump trailing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) at this point in the race but there has been substantial tightening since the Indiana Primary left Trump unopposed in the remaining GOP Primaries and Caucuses,