President-elect Donald Trump has released a list of possible nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court, and with his inauguration just days away, his first nomination to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative stalwart, is expected at any time.
He’s promised to pick a candidate that shares Scalia’s faithfulness to the U.S. Constitution and conservatism.
So how about a candidate who agrees with tossing a student from a counseling program because she wouldn’t violate her Christian beliefs and advocate for homosexuality? And who instructed the student to attend “pride” events so she would be exposed more to “gays”? A candidate who also adopted a transgender’s argument that he suffered discrimination when he lost his job for disrupting a workplace when he started dressing as a woman.
Such a candidate would be William Pryor, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit since 2004. Previously, he served as Alabama’s attorney general, succeeding Jeff Sessions in 1997.
Pryor is one of about two dozen names on Trump’s list, along with Timothy Tymkovich, Neil Gorsuch, Keith Blackwell, Charles Canady, Mike Lee, Edward Mansfield, Federico Moreno, Margaret Ryan, Amul Thapar, Robert Young, Steven Colloton, Allison Eid, Raymond Gruender, Thomas Hardiman, Raymond Kethledge, Joan Larsen, Thomas Lee, David Stras, Diane Sykes and Don Willett.
Scalia’s voice probably never was stronger than in the Obergefell decision in which five other members of the court created – critics say out of thin air – the right to homosexual “marriage.”
He said the five robbed citizens of their rights.
“Today’s decree says that my ruler, and the ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court,” Scalia wrote.
“The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact – and the furthest extension one can even imagine – of the court’s claimed power to create ‘liberties’ that the Constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the people of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.”
Scalia pointed out, in support of traditional marriage and conservative beliefs: “When the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868, every state limited marriage to one man and one woman, and no one doubted the constitutionality of doing so. That resolves these cases. When it comes to determining the meaning of a vague constitutional provision – such as ‘due process of law’ or ‘equal protection of the laws’ – it is unquestionable that the people who ratified that provision did not understand it to prohibit a practice that remained both universal and uncontroversial in the years after ratification.
“We have no basis for striking down a practice that is not expressly prohibited by the Fourteenth Amendment’s text, and that bears the endorsement of a long tradition of open, widespread, and unchallenged use dating back to the amendment’s ratification,” he wrote.
He blasted the bare majority of five justices, saying, “A system of government that makes the people subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy.”
Other comments on the creation of same-sex “marriage”?
Pretentious, egotistic, extravagant, silly and incoherent, he declared.
So how would William Pryor stack up as a replacement?
Poorly, according to the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit Judicial Action Group, which describes its mission as “judicial renewal,” meaning “when judges stop legislating from the bench and return to their proper and noble role of simply deciding cases according to the laws of the land.”
“An objective review of Judge Pryor’s decisions in Glenn v. Brumby and Keeton v. Anderson-Wiley leads to the conclusion that he has failed to interpret the Constitution as the framers intended,” the group has concluded in an analysis.
“Accordingly, he lacks support from many conservative leaders who, like President-Elect Trump, believe that Justice Scalia’s seat must be filled with a nominee who has a deep record of commitment to the Constitution.”
The Glenn case involved a claim by a man who wanted to be a woman that he suffered discrimination when he dressed as a woman and went to the office, a move his supervisor perceived is disrupting operations. The organization reported that in the Glenn case, “Pryor concurred with the court’s opinion to create a new transgender right to employment and bathroom nondiscrimination.”
But Pryor offered “no analysis of the text of the law or constitutional provisions and failed to cite one case of binding precedent from either the U.S. Supreme Court or the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.”
Specifically, Pryor concluded that the right should be created even though not one of the 16 Supreme Court cases cited addressed “transgenders.” Nor was there any precedent in the 11th Circuit.
“Pryor’s vote in Glenn is the best evidence of how he would vote on the Supreme Court. In most lower court cases, judges vote consistently with binding precedent even if it is not the precedent they would create. However, in the Glenn case there was no binding Supreme Court and Eleventh Circuit precedent on ‘transsexual rights,’ which makes the case analogous to a Supreme Court case and, therefore, highly indicative of how Pryor would vote on the Supreme Court,” the action group found.
The report continued: “Most importantly, Pryor’s analysis of the actual text of the law and Constitution at issue in this case is woefully insufficient, especially given the absence of binding precedent. The opinion relegates the text of the law and Constitution to mere footnotes.”
Read the history of the attacks on marriage and the family, from the days of Karl Marx and Margaret Sanger to those now pushing for mandatory recognition of same-sex “marriage,” in “Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left has Sabotaged Family and Marriage.”
As to the Keeton case, in which Augusta State University expelled a female Christian student for refusing to engage in a “remediation” plan imposed because of her conservative and religious views on homosexuality. Pryor specifically supported that result.
Pryor equated the code of ethics of the American Counseling Association with the First Amendment then ruled that “viewpoint” discrimination against the Christian student was permissible because it was not directed at her personally but against all persons who share her biblical view about homosexuality, the action group reported.
He wrote, “The remediation plan did not single out Keeton for disfavored treatment because of her point of view.”
“In other words, Pryor wrongly held that the violation of Keeton’s First Amendment rights was acceptable because the college was not simply discriminating against her, but against all Christians and others who share her disfavored view about homosexuality,” the analysis found.
“The result of Pryor’s ruling is a constitutional nightmare where students who believe homosexuality is immoral must be expelled, but students who believe it is moral can remain. … Pryor’s ruling affirmed the draconian and unconscionable requirement that the female Christian student ‘work to increase her exposure and interaction with the LGBTQ population by, for instance, attending the Gay Pride Parade in Augusta.’”
Trump released the names of possible candidates in part to reassure conservatives before the election he would put someone similar to Scalia on the bench.
Fox News commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano described them as “serious” candidates.
At issue was the growing progressive bent of the Supreme Court, with the expectation Hillary Clinton, as president, would follow the lead of President Obama in appointing justices like Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, who voted to create same-sex marriage despite the Constitution’s silence on the issue.
In fact, Kagan had publicly endorsed the idea while the issue was pending before the court by performing same-sex “weddings.” She then refused a request to recuse herself from the case because of her bias.
For now, the high court is split 4-4 ideologically. Critics fear that the wrong appointee could actually facilitate the demise of, for example, the Second Amendment.
Trump was trying to assure Americans his justices will follow the Constitution and the law.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence explained the gravity of the issue during a campaign stop in the Rocky Mountains.
“We’re electing a president for the next four years and that president is probably going to set a course of direction of the Supreme Court of the United States for the next 40 years,” he said. “You better think about that real hard, Colorado.”