Jan 17, 2017 - Politics & Policy

Trump meets a Supreme Court ​candidate

Ted S. Warren / AP

Potential Supreme Court nominee Judge William Pryor spoke with Trump today, per an AP report. The Alabama-based judge serves on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and may be be tapped to fill the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Trump also floated Diane Sykes for the seat. He's expected to make a decision within his first two weeks in office.

Alabama Connection: Pryor was the state's attorney general from 1997 to 2004. Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump's AG pick, was his predecessor in the job. Both are Mobile natives and are said to have a close working relationship, according to the AP.

Would Pryor be a sticking points for Democrats? Maybe. Democrats fought back when George W. Bush nominated Pryor to the 11th Circuit. Bush then appointed him during a recess in 2003, and ultimately Pryor was confirmed (53-45). SCOTUSblog details Pryor's legal opinions; we sum them up below the fold.

On Roe v. Wade: Pryor thinks it is the "worst abomination in the history of constitutional law."

On Lawrence v. Texas: Pryor wrote a brief arguing in favor of the Texas law banning sodomy that Lawrence v. Texas struck down.

On criminal law: Pryor tends to rule in favor of the state. He has written 28 opinions on capital punishment, all of which favor the death sentence. Note that 17 of those decisions were unanimous. He has also denied stays of execution on the eve of three.

On civil rights: Pryor has ruled in favor of religious freedoms, has joined a decision in favor of a transgender employee in a wrongful firing case, and has challenged Georgia's voting ID law. Note that Pryor wrote the decision upholding a redistricting plan in Alabama Democratic Conference v. Alabama that the Supreme Court reversed on racial gerrymandering claims.

On free speech: This is a bit of a mixed bag. Pryor has ruled both for and against extending freedom of speech protections.

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