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Could Judge Pryor's (Allegedly) Porny Past Jeopardize His Supreme Court Future?

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By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on November 18, 2016 1:15 PM

Way back in May, Donald Trump released his first list of potential Supreme Court nominees. Among those named was Eleventh Circuit Judge William Pryor. Now that Trump has won the presidency, he has recommitted to picking a justice from that group. Pryor could be a good fit. He's extremely conservative, emphatically against Roe v. Wade and gay rights. The fact that Trump has started packing his cabinet with controversial right wingers doesn't hurt Pryor's chances either.

There's just one problem: rumors that Judge Pryor has a gay porn past.

Clothed in Nothing but the Afternoon Light

We were reminded of Pryor's past porn rumors after this old FindLaw post started trending this week. It details allegations that naked photos of Pryor, allegedly taken during his college days, were once hosted on one of the internet's largest gay porn websites.

Here's the background. Pictures of a young man sporting a moppish haircut and nothing else circulated for awhile on the internet, part of a collection of photos titled "WizardBoy Gallery #19," with this particular photo identified as "Bill Pryor."

The photo was eventually taken down, but someone printed out a copy. That printout eventually made its way into the hands of Roger Shuler, whose Legal Schnauzer blog covers legal "injustice" and corrupt judges. Shuler claimed the photo was of Pryor and uploaded it to his blog. (NSFW link.)

Pryor's nude photos (if they were of him) were relevant, Shuler argued, because they exposed the "rank hypocrisy" of a judge who was stridently anti-gay rights.

As attorney general for Alabama, for example, Pryor defended state laws criminalizing gay sexual relationships, submitting an amicus brief in 2003's Lawrence v. Texas, that argued that "The Supreme Court has never recognized a fundamental right to engage in sexual activity outside of monogamous heterosexual marriage, let alone to engage in homosexual sodomy." (Heterosexual sodomy was A-OK though, Pryor's brief noted.)

Pryor Denies Resemblance, Will Trump Deny Him?

When the rumors first sprung up back in 2013, Judge Pryor strongly, and curtly, denied that the images were of him. In response to questions by Shuler, Pryor wrote:

I have nothing to say to you except that these accusations are totally false.

Do not contact me again.

Later, the judge said that he had been "smeared by a widely discredited blogger with a political agenda."

Since then, the photos had largely been forgotten, until Trump's SCOTUS list revived interest in Pryor's background.

Could those fleshy pics now pose a problem for the potential nominee? Probably not a major one. We know, for example, that Donald Trump doesn't have much of a problem with nudity. And Supreme Court justices have overcome worse accusations during confirmation battles.

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