Pryor is best known for his appointment to the 11th Circuit in which the Senate Democrats had attempted to obstruct his nomination in part because of his previous role as Alabama’s attorney general in which he denounced Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that established a constitutional right to abortion.
Pryor comes from a family of devout Roman Catholics and graduated from a private Catholic high school before going on to get his BA from Northeast Louisiana University in 1984. He went on to get his JD from Tulane University Law School in 1987 where he served as editor in chief to the Tulane Law Review.
Justice Pryor served as law clerk to Judge Wisdom from the US Court of Appeals from 1987 to 1988 and then worked in a private firm until 1995 serving as adjunct professor of maritime law at the Cumberland School of Law at Stanford University. He is currently a visiting professor at the University of Alabama’s School of Law and adjunct professor at the Cumberland School of Law at Stanford.
From 1995-1997 Pryor served as Alabama’s deputy attorney general before becoming the state’s attorney general in 1997 becoming the youngest Attorney General at the time. He was re-elected in 2002 gaining the highest percentage of any statewide candidate at 59%.
Pryor received national attention when he called for the removal of Chief Justice Moore for not obeying the federal court order to remove the Ten Commandments from public display. He said that while he agrees that the Commandments should be allowed to be displayed, Moore was going against a court order and needed to uphold the law. Pryor personally prosecuted him and Moore was unanimously removed from office.
Pryor has a hefty list of notable opinions. He has also written several law review articles about his experiences with sentencing reform. President Obama nominate Pryor to serve as a commissioner on the US Sentencing Commission in April of 2013. The Senate unanimously confirmed Pryor in June 2013.