Byron York has some nice things to say about Alabama Attorney General and controversial 11th Circuit nominee Bill Pryor. Basically, nominees are faced with two choices: be forthright in expressing their views before the Senate or try to hide them. Pryor has chosen the first course, which is more honorable but also more perilous. Although, as Steven has noted, Miguel Estrada is now being harangued for not having a record, so it’s a clear case of damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
Steven and I have both met Pryor, as he made a couple of visits to Troy State when I was teaching there. He has the cornpone, backslapping, Bible-belting temperament that’s necessary to excel in Alabama politics–and frankly, gets on my nerves and causes me to reflexively question their intelligence–but he’s a very likeable fellow and is surely bright enough for the bench. He wears his Evangelical Christianity on his sleeves and has different views on the 1st Amendment than I do, but he’s certainly not dangerous. I’d prefer a legal scholar or someone with judicial experience for the job, but, oddly, he’s not being criticized for lack of qualification.