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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.

Go deeper

8 hours ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

8 hours ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

Republicans who put it all on the line

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.