We now know how Donald Trump feels about and evaluates Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel. We should take a look at the caliber of some of the judges Trump says he would consider appointing to the United States Supreme Court.
No one other than Trump would ever consider several of these judges. William H Pryor Jr., who called the Roe V Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide the "worst abomination in the history of constitutional law...I will never forget January 22, 1973, the day seven members of our highest court ripped the Constitution and ripped the life out of millions of unborn children."
Pryor, the first Appeals Court judge in April 2001 nominated by George W. Bush, had no judicial experience. Democrats and Republicans accused him of being corrupt and a racist. The Democratic Congress refused to approve him. He was again submitted in 2003, this time to the Republican controlled Congress. They refused to approve him. Bush, failing to get him through Congress, made him a recess appointment in 2006. His Senate vote was 53 for his nomination, 45 against.
The Attorney General of Alabama for eight years, Pryor, in 2002, argued to the Supreme Court in Hope v. Pelzer that the "hitching post" where a black prisoner, Larry Hope, was shackled to a horizontal bar, hands over his head, in the heat of an Alabama summer day, was proper punishment. Alabama, he admitted, was the only state that had a hitching post but he said that it is the State's right to determine how to treat its prisoners.
Hope had been frequently handcuffed to the post, once for seven hours, shirtless while the sun burned his skin. He was not given water and had no bathroom breaks. At one point, the guard taunted Hope about his thirst. Hope said, "The guard gave water to some dogs, then brought the water cooler closer to me, removed its top, and kicked the cooler over, filling the water on the ground." Pryor pointed out it was an inexpensive way to administer punishment. The Supreme Court said the use of the hitching post violated "the basic concept underlying the Eighth Amendment which is nothing less than the dignity of man." Justice John Paul Stevens, said it was cruel and unusual punishment, "antithetical to human dignity," to put Hope "for an extended period of time in a position that was painful and under the circumstances both degrading and dangerous."
After the Supreme Court rejected Pryor's argument that the hitching post was "cost-effective, safe, and pain-free" he publicly criticized the court saying the ruling was "based on its own subjective view on appropriate methods of prison discipline."
Pryor, while Attorney General, refused to reopen the case of Anthony Ray Hinton, an Alabama man who spent nearly 30 years on death row for a crime he did not commit. Over the objection of Pryor, his conviction was vacated by the United States Supreme Court.
Hinton wanted a hearing after conviction, to let the court hear FBI and law enforcement experts, retained by defense counsel, whose testimony proved Hinton could not have fired the gun.
Pryor said, "If the State of Alabama has to spend even one additional day in Birmingham, Alabama, defending the state," prosecutors wrote in an emergency appellate paper seeking to stop the hearing, "the state will be unduly injured in the form of additional per diem expenses, transportation expenses, and loss of two assistant attorney generals for complete workday."
Pryor's concern for cost-effectiveness in the punishment area in Larry Hope's verdicts matched by his desire to save money in the Hinton case, surely must have impressed Trump's people who want to save money in jails and courts.
The Supreme Court unanimously ordered Alabama to spend the money for the hearing.
Pryor opposed the granting of a hearing. He lost.
After the hearing Pryor said, "The experts did not prove Mr. Hinton's innocence, the State does not doubt his guilt." However, the Supreme Court did doubt his guilt.
Hinton was released on April 3, 2015; 13 years after Pryor first opposed Hinton's hearing attempts.
Pryor is an extremist on all matters before the courts, especially religion. He wrote an article entitled "The Religious Faith and Judicial Duty of an American Catholic Judge" describing how he could balance his religious beliefs with his judicial obligations. Pryor supported the efforts of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore to display a nearly three -- ton granite monument of the Ten Commandments in the rotunda of the state Judicial Building, a display ruled unconstitutional by a federal court. More than 40 Alabama clergy and other religious leaders, including Christian clergy, opposed Moore's monument as a violation of the separation of church and state. Speaking to a demonstration in support of Moore organized by the Christian Coalition, holding his three-year-old daughter, he told thousands, "God has chosen this time in this place so that we can save our country and save our courts for our children."
He said a legal right to engage in same-sex relations would "logically extend to activities like prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography and even incest and pedophilia.
Pryor was against the Voting Rights Act, EPA regulations, and federal efforts to protect wetlands. He opposed litigation aimed at tobacco companies, gun control, lead paint, and managed care industries saying the court should not take those suits but leave those matters to state legislators. "This form of litigation is madness," he said. "It is a threat to human liberty and needs to be stopped."
Pryor publicly, before he was nominated by Bush to be Circuit Judge, said "Please God. No more Souters"; he called the court "nine octogenarians" who acted illegally. He told his Senate nominating committee the Supreme Court was acting illegally when it disagreed with the Hinton decisions.
The second worst constitutional decision, he told the Congress, was Miranda v. Arizona, a 1966 opinion that requires a defendant be told he has a constitutional right to silence and the right to a lawyer while he is in custody.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution captioned its Editorial on Pryor, on May 6, 2003, with the title: "Right Wing Zealot Unfit to Judge."
I cannot believe any other presidential nominee would consider nominating Pryor for the same Court that had John Marshall, Benjamin Cardoza and Oliver Wendell Holmes.
I thought the Dred Scott case, deciding that black people were not full persons, was the worst case ever decided. Circuit Court Judge Pryor disagrees, and he will, if he is a member of the Supreme Court of the United States, certainly uphold legal decisions determined to create the kind of country that Donald Trump seems to want.