By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, January 24, 2017, former Alabama Attorney General William H. “Bill” Pryor Jr. (R), currently an eleventh circuit appeals court judge, was named as one of the finalists to fill the US Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of conservative jurist, Antonin Scalia
Trump told reporters on Wednesday, “I’ll be making my decision this week. We’ll be announcing next week. We have outstanding candidates, and we will pick a truly great Supreme Court justice.”
Democratic Senators have vowed to delay the process as much as possible.
Alabama Co-Chairman for the Donald Trump Campaign former state Representative Perry O Hooper Jr. (R-Prattville) applauded Judge Bill Pryor for being a finalist for the open US Supreme Court seat. Rep. Perry O Hooper Jr. said, “Judge Pryor is an upstanding and fair jurist and would be the perfect person to replace the late Antonin Scalia.”
Rep. Hooper continued, “Judge Pryor and I go back a long time and we have worked together on many issues. When my father was elected as the first republican Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice, Bill Pryor as Attorney General fought to ensure his certification. When I was in the Alabama Legislature and he was the Alabama Attorney General he drafted my legislation allowing students a moment of silence in schools, which was upheld by the courts. I am confident that he would be the type of Supreme Court Justice that Americans want on the Supreme Court.”
Hooper added, “Judge Pryor will interrupt the Constitution just as it was written and not legislate from the bench. He knows that the job of writing laws lies with Congress and it’s the Supreme Court’s job to interrupt them with respect to existing laws and the Constitution. That is what we need from a Supreme Court Justice and that is what will get with Judge Bill Pryor.”
Judge Pryor received his law degree from Tulane, and clerked for Judge John Minor Wisdom of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Pryor was appointed Alabama Attorney General by Governor Fob James (R) to fill the vacancy created by then Attorney General Jeff Sessions election to the US Senate. Pryor was elected AG in 1998 and re-elected in 2002.
Some social conservatives still criticize then AG Pryor for his 2004 prosecution of then suspended Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore (R) on charges brought by the Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) before the Court of the Judiciary (COJ). The COJ then found Moore guilty of defying a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Supreme Court building and removed him from the bench. The JIC’s friends in the legislature have since given the JIC the power to select their own prosecutors, so they aren’t dependent on the Attorney General when they prosecute jurists.
Liberals have been critical of Pryor because of his stated views on the controversial ‘Roe versus Wade’ ruling which he called the worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.”
The Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern wrote on Wednesday, “Pryor, for his part, would serve as a bomb-throwing culture warrior and Republican politician in robes. A partisan and an extremist, he is the only one of Trump’s shortlisters who would merit a filibuster. If Trump nominates him, Democrats will be politically and morally obliged to fight his nomination to the bitter end. William Pryor has no place on the Supreme Court.”
Perry O. Hooper, Jr., is one of the twenty Alabama leaders interviewed by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) for a possible appointment to the US Senate if Senator Jeff Sessions (R) is confirmed by the US Senate to head the President Trump’s US Department of Justice.
The other two candidates being considered are Thomas Hardiman, appeals court judge from Pennsylvania in the third circuit, and Neil Gorsuch, a Tenth circuit appeals judge from Colorado.
CBS News had been reporting that the field had narrowed to just Hardiman and Gorsuch and that Pryor is no longer under serious consideration. More recent reporting includes Pryor on the short list.
(Original reporting by Breitbart News, CBS News, Slate, and Fox News contributed to this report)