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Pryor up for circuit court seat

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY-President Bush has done the expected…he has nominated Atty. Gen. Bill Pryor for a seat on the U. S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Now the fun begins. Predictably, the Pryor appointment touched off an instant storm of protest on the national scene. Almost every liberal group in the nation has already sounded off in opposition to the Pryor nomination.
He is a Catholic who is outspoken in his opposition to abortion, and his stand in support of Chief Justice Roy Moore in the Ten Commandments dispute has enraged other groups.
A spokesman for the Americans United for Separation of Church and State said Pryor is the kind of nominee that "reveals the Bush administration's arrogance."
Despite the long and testy fight that surely awaits Pryor nomination, rumors are already flying as to who Gov. Bob Riley might appoint attorney general in the event Pryor is confirmed as a judge.
There is a laundry list of men and women who would jump at the opportunity to become the state's top law enforcement official.
The hopefuls include former Supreme Court Justice Terry Butts, Baldwin County DA David Whetstone; Riley's legal advisor Troy King; Toby Roth, the governor's chief of staff; U. S. Atty. Alice Martin, who presently is spear heading the probe of Richard Scrushy.
Butts is a Democrat who late in the 2002 gubernatorial campaign showed up as a member of Riley's legal team. Whether his appointment would sit well with old guard Republicans is questionable. His appointment would violate what is dubbed the "Big Jim Folsom Rule," Folsom once said that "you can't join the church on Sunday morning and expect to be elected chairman of the Board of Deacons that night."
John Giles, the head man for the Alabama Christian Coalition, may have violated this rule.
After his forces successfully blocked an attempt to bring up a gambling bill in the House, Giles was moved to write a letter to the House members who had cast pro-gambling votes, urging that in the future they vote to "defend family values."
One House member…Rep. Thomas Jackson, D-Thomasville…a minister, was most offended by the letter.
"They want to make everybody conform to what they believe religion is all about," he said.
Giles sought to recover, insisting his letter was not intended to question anyone's faith, merely their vote.
The survey…which put Alabama in the top five on the "worst list" confirms an earlier expression used to describe this state: "Tort Hell." The organization did the survey in an effort to prod states to pass laws limiting damage awards.
He proposed a constitutional amendment which provided for the election of state school board members and these members would then be empowered to hire a State School Supterintendent. The voters overwhelming approved the plan.
It marked the first time in decades that a statewide elected office was abolished. Now comes legislation to undo what Brewer and the voters did in the late 1960s. Rep. Mary Moore, D-Birmingham, says she plans to offer a constitutional amendment which would call for the election of the state superintendent in a statewide election.