Bill Pryor to Replace Ashcroft?
Bill Pryor to replace Ashcroft? (Mobile Register)
Even before last Tuesday’s election, speculation was running rampant about who might fill top jobs in a second Bush administration. Among those mentioned for U.S. attorney general: Mobile native and former Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor. Publications ranging from The National Journal, a respected political weekly in Washington, D.C., to The Guardian newspaper in London have described Pryor as a candidate to replace U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, whom some expect to leave after almost four years in the job. Pryor, now serving temporarily as a judge on the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, declined to comment Friday. Last year, Democrats in the U.S. Senate blocked his nomination to a lifetime appeals court slot, arguing that he is too ideological to make an even-handed judge.
Republican insiders disagree about whether Pryor is a serious contender for the nation’s top law enforcement job, with some labeling the prospect unlikely. In any case, U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile, said last week that he intends to talk to President Bush about renominating Pryor for a permanent seat on the 11th Circuit.
I can’t imagine Pryor would be seriously considered for the job. He was an able Alabama AG and could certainly handle it but it makes little sense from a tactical perspective for President Bush to appoint him. First, Pryor is another controversial figure. Why replace Ashcroft with another lightning rod? Second, Pryor doesn’t have the stature that others could bring to the table. Most of those mentioned, including Republican Party Chairman Marc Racicot; White House general counsel Alberto Gonzales, former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, and others would have much more clout in Washington.