October 22, 2021

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With no explanation, circuit judge hires clerk accused of texting she hates Black people

Clanton worked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, and was also admitted to George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School, as reported by Above the Law after breaking the story about Clanton’s position with Pryor. “So we are left to believe either Judge Pryor is incapable of either the most rudimentary Google search, or he just doesn’t care that he’s putting someone with a history of racist behavior further along on the path to power,” journalist Kathryn Rubino wrote.

Whitmire also spent much of his column rightfully criticizing the judge for refusing to explain his hiring decision. The journalist said his call to action wasn’t for Clanton. He said it’s quite possible the alleged text message was nothing more than a youthful transgression that hardly represents who Clanton is now. And while I hardly believe—and definitely don’t accept—that a person simply grows out of racism, I do agree that the judge’s decision to hire Clanton is extremely telling.

“Clerkships for federal judges aren’t coffee-fetching internships for resume padding,” Whitmire wrote. “They are launchpads for legal careers—shortcuts into ivory tower law firms, stepping stones that can lead to the bench itself one day.

“It’s a gateway. Pryor is a gatekeeper. And when you let one person through that gate, you inevitably leave someone else locked on the outside.”

It’s not exactly unbelievable that Pryor would be an unfit gatekeeper. A top choice of former President Donald Trump for a Supreme Court justice position in 2016, the judge deemed the Roe v. Wade ruling the worst abomination in the history of constitutional law” and “a constitutional right to murder an unborn child.”

Meteor Blades, a Daily Kos staff writer emeritus, wrote of Pryor that year: “From his judgeship on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, he ruled for the restrictive Georgia voter ID law, claiming that ‘racially disparate effects’ are inadequate to prove a violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

The Supreme Court he would sit on has ruled oppositely. In Kimel v. Florida Board of Regents, Pryor went a good deal further than the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling, arguing that Congress’ had no power to legislate under the Fourteenth Amendment with respect to age discrimination because it was not concerned with a ‘suspect’ classification like race and national origin, a radical theory that would further limit Congress’s ability to protect individual rights.’”

Not exactly a model for morality, then or now.

RELATED: Trump’s apparent first choices for associate justices on the Supreme Court are unfit to serve

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