William H. Pryor Jr. serves as a federal circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. President George W. Bush appointed Judge Pryor during a Senate recess in 2004, and the Senate confirmed his appointment in 2005.
In 2013, President Barack Obama appointed Judge Pryor to serve four years on the U.S. Sentencing Commission, a seven-member, bipartisan agency that establishes federal sentencing guidelines and policies.
For several years, Judge Pryor has served as a distinguished visiting professor at the University of Alabama School of Law and as an adjunct professor at the Cumberland School of Law of Samford University.
Judge Pryor served as Attorney General of Alabama from 1997 to 2004. When first appointed, he was, at 34, the youngest attorney general in the nation. He was later elected and reelected to that office in 1998 and 2002. In his reelection, Pryor received the highest percentage of votes of any statewide candidate.
Judge Pryor graduated, magna cum laude, from Tulane Law School where he was editor in chief of the Tulane Law Review, a member of Order of the Coif, received the George Dewey Nelson Memorial Award for the highest grade point average in the common-law curriculum, and was a charter member and president of the Tulane Federalist Society.
After graduating from Tulane, Judge Pryor served as a law clerk for Circuit Judge John Minor Wisdom of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
After his judicial clerkship, Pryor engaged in a private practice of commercial litigation in Birmingham.
Judge Pryor is an elected member of The American Law Institute and serves as an Adviser for the Restatement of the Law Third, Conflict of Laws. He serves on the boards of advisory editors of the Tulane Law Review and 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 dozens of articles in law reviews and journals, including the Columbia Law Review, Virginia Law Review, Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Yale Law & Policy Review, and Tulane 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, Judge Pryor has debated a former Solicitor General of the United States and a President of the American Bar Association at National Lawyers’ Conventions of the Federalist Society (the former was broadcasted on National Public Radio), and he has debated secularist leaders in Britain at the Oxford Union in the United Kingdom.
Judge Pryor is married with two adult children.