March 3, 2005


Pryor Impressions: Alabamans want to know why Bill Pryor is being filibustered in the Senate. (QUIN HILLYER, March 3, 2005, Opinion Journal)

If judicial nominations represent the spear-point of all of the partisan battles in Washington, former Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor is the poison on the spear. Judge Pryor, whose renomination to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals could get a Senate hearing as early as March 9, has become a folk hero to conservatives nationwide while drawing fierce denunciations from liberal editorial pages. Come to Alabama, though, and the cognoscenti from all shades of the political spectrum find the controversy badly misguided.

Here, the Republican Pryor--at age 42, now serving a mere temporary appointment to the 11th Circuit--is the darling not just of right-leaning editorial boards. He enjoys near-universal support even from newspapers that endorsed Al Gore and John Kerry, from elected officials both Democrat and Republican, black and white--and even from the Democrat who Mr. Pryor defeated for attorney general.

The liberal Anniston Star, for instance, in the same editorial that urges filibusters against most of President Bush's nominees, writes that "Pryor, who possesses a brilliant legal mind, cannot be so easily dismissed. . . . Pryor has been proven capable of setting aside his ideology when it matters most. . . . [He] helped shut down [Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's Ten Commandments] sideshow and, in the process, displayed personal courage. That alone ought to convince Democrats currently blocking a vote on Pryor to give him a chance."

Why do Alabamians so strongly back Judge Pryor? Because they've seen him in action defending Democratic lawmakers against Republican lawsuits, defying the Republican governor (Fob James) who appointed him, and spending countless hours establishing a youth mentorship program through the attorney general's office. They know him, up close, as a man of integrity and compassion.

Seems safe to say the Democrats have permanently written off the South.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 3, 2005 1:06 PM

Pickering was the same, the MS dems didn't like it.

Posted by: Sandy P at March 3, 2005 2:16 PM

The Democrats are betting that Black demographics will make them competitive again, assuming that Blacks in the South are as focused on government as a source of freebies as are Blacks in the inner cities of the US. They have certainly given up on attracting votes of White Southerners.

Posted by: Bart at March 3, 2005 4:36 PM