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Federal Judges Maze, Pryor to be investigated over law clerk hire

Report: Pryor and Maze hired the clerk despite knowing of the credible accusations of racist comments.


A committee of the U.S. Judicial Conference ruled last week that U.S. Circuit Court Judge Bill Pryor and U.S. District Court Judge Corey Maze – both of Alabama – should be investigated for their decisions to hire a law clerk who made overtly racist comments in her past. 

The Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability ruled that a committee must be formed to consider misconduct allegations against Maze and Pryor, and to investigate if they were aware of comments allegedly made by Crystal Clanton. In a text message allegedly from Clanton, she told colleagues at Talking Point USA, a conservative student group, that she hated Black people. 

I HATE BLACK PEOPLE. Like f— them all,” Clanton wrote in 2015 to a fellow employee. 

The allegations against Maze and Pryor were tossed out by the judicial counsel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in January, but the Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability ordered it sent back to the 2nd with explicit instructions to find out if Clanton made the statements and if the judges were aware of them. 

Both Maze and Pryor have admitted to knowing of the allegations against Clanton, however they said there was information available that Clanton didn’t make the statements. Clanton has also denied making the comment. 

According to Washington Post, Clanton didn’t deny that she wrote the text, only that she doesn’t recall writing it. In a statement to the Post, Clanton said she was a different person today than when the texts were written in 2015. She was 20 at the time. 

A colleague at Talking Point USA indicated that the message was one of several fabricated by a former, disgruntled employee. 

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However, Talking Point president Charlie Kirk told the Post that the group fired Clanton after learning of the text message and investigating its authenticity. 

The defense that the texts were fabricated seems to have originated after a 2017 New Yorker story. The author of the New Yorker story and a writer at the Post said they contacted both Clanton and her attorney and neither mentioned the possibility that the text message was fabricated. 

After living with U.S. Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Ginni for more than a year, Clanton was hired by Maze and Pryor to work as she completes law school.

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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