William H. Pryor Jr. is a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Initially appointed by President George W. Bush during a Senate recess in 2004, Judge Pryor’s appointment was confirmed by the U. S. Senate in 2005.
Judge Pryor served as Attorney General of Alabama from 1997 to 2004. When first appointed, he was the youngest attorney general in the nation. He was later elected and reelected to that office in 1998 and 2002. In his reelection in 2002, Pryor received the highest percentage of votes of any statewide candidate.
Judge Pryor is a graduate, magna cum laude, of the Tulane Law School where he was editor in chief of the Tulane Law Review, a member of Order of the Coif, recipient of the George Dewey Nelson Memorial Award for the graduate with the highest grade point average in the common-law curriculum, and a charter member and President of the Tulane Federalist Society.
After graduation, Judge Pryor served as a law clerk for Judge John Minor Wisdom of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Following his judicial clerkship, Pryor engaged in a private practice of litigation in Birmingham and, for six years, served as an adjunct professor of admiralty at the Cumberland School of Law of Samford University. Since 2006, Judge Pryor has served each fall semester as a visiting professor of federal jurisdiction at the University of Alabama School of Law.
Judge Pryor is a member of the American Law Institute, the Board of Advisory Editors of the Tulane Law Review, and the Board of Advisory Editors of the Yale Law & Policy Review. He is a Life Fellow of the Alabama Law Foundation, a former Vice-President of the Alabama Center for Law & Civic Education, and a former Chairman of the Federalism and Separation of Powers Practice Group of the Federalist Society. In 2002 and 2003, Pryor served as a member of the State and Local Senior Advisory Committee of the White House Office on Homeland Security. Judge Pryor has been awarded honorary doctorates of law from John Marshall Law School in Atlanta and Regent University in Virginia.
Judge Pryor has lectured and published widely. He has lectured at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and several law schools and universities. He has published in the Columbia Law Review, Virginia Law Review, Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Yale Law & Policy Review, Tulane Law Review, Alabama Law Review, Florida Law Review, Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy, and Cumberland Law Review. He has published op-eds in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Times, and USA Today. He has testified before committees of the U.S. Senate on capital punishment, environmental law, and the role of the judiciary. A champion debater in college, Pryor has debated at National Lawyers’ Conventions of the Federalist Society, on National Public Radio, and at the Oxford Union in the United Kingdom.
Judge Pryor is married with two children.
- Northeast Louisiana University, B.A., magna cum laude, 1984
- Tulane University School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 1987
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