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.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Steven says:

    Interestingly, he is Catholic (which I was unaware of), and that is something of an oddity in Alabama politics–although yes, he is overtly religious.

    I found him quite amiable, and rather unassuming in person. His commencement speech was mediocre–but many are, and most are worse. 🙂

    While he likley wouldn’t be my first choice, I have no problem with his nomination.

  2. Chris Allen says:

    I hope you were not expressing a form of bigotry that really gets on my nerves. Why does a southern person’s speech pattern and demenor always become a negative? Just because I have a southern accent don’t mean I’m stupid, hear me boy!

  3. James Joyner says:

    Chris: Hell, I have a Southern accent. But many Alabama politicians affect a manner of speaking that is very “down home,” so they don’t appear to “get above their raisin’,” despite the fact that they are mostly rather well educated.

    Georgia’s Zell Miller, for example, has a Southern accent but talks like someone with an education. Alabama’s Howell Heflin, on the other hand, used to talk like Foghorn Leghorn.