Pryor Judgeship

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Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor is everything abortion rights activists don't want in a federal judge. They view him as a conservative extremist who wants to criminalize abortions.

Yet while these foes in Washington are lining up to oppose Pryor's nomination to the Atlanta-based U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, some unusual friends in Alabama are lining up to support it.

As a result, many of Pryor's critics concede that among President Bush's conservative judicial choices, Pryor might not be the lightning-rod appointee that stands out above the rest. They want him defeated, but early indications are he won't be targeted as vigorously as some of the others.

Pryor's nomination is expected to win easy approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions holds a key role. If Pryor is granted an up-or-down vote in the Republican-controlled Senate, he would likely be confirmed.

Pryor's chances have been buoyed in Alabama by the surprising endorsement of at least three prominent black Democrats: Rep. Artur Davis of Birmingham, longtime state Representative Alvin Holmes of Montgomery, and Joe Reed, chairman of the Alabama Democratic Conference.

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