The Corner

Pryor Bait and Switch

TAPped’s Matthew Yglesias suggests that “A person who believes that his religious commitments prevent him from doing that has no place in the federal judiciary.” This is true. Yglesias also suggests this is a reason to oppose the nomination of William Pryor to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Yet Pryor has never suggested that his deep Catholic convictions, including his belief that abortion is murder, would prevent him from faithfully applying the law as a judge. Indeed, as Alabama’s Attorney General Pryor narrowly construed a state abortion law to conform it to relevant legal precedents and sought the removal of state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore for defyting a federal court order to enforce a court judgment with which Pryor disagreed. The truth is that Pryor has shown he can keep his personal religious and ideological beliefs separate from his legal responsibilities. Ironically, when Justice Scalia made Yglesias’ broader point — that those who cannot faithfully follow the law when it conflicts with their personal convictions should not be judges — the Left howled with indignation. At least Yglesias has come around.

Jonathan H. Adler — Mr. Adler is an NRO contributing editor and the inaugural Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. His latest book is Marijuana Federalism: Uncle Sam and Mary Jane.


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