Judge William Pryor of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has made Donald Trump’s short-list of potential Supreme Court nominees. But he has highly religious views that even have other conservative judges raising concerns.
Pryor wrote a lengthy dissent last week in a Florida case that so alarmed another conservative judge on the panel that she then wrote a less radical concurrence to his message that juries should report to God before making a verdict, according to Slate.
In the case, a juror claimed that the defendant was innocent because God told him so.
The case involved former Rep. Corrine Brown, a Florida Democrat who was found guilty in a fraud and tax evasion case, and she appealed her conviction because the judge removed a juror who claimed God had told him the ex-lawmaker was not guilty.
According to the report, that man, Juror 13, wanted to remain in the jury but the judge insisted that he be removed.
The appeals court ultimately ruled that jurors cannot claim that their reasoning behind a verdict is God’s words and not the evidence presented in court and the judge’s instructions for deliberations.
But Pryor, Trump’s possible Supreme Court nominee, claimed that Juror 13 was the victim of discrimination by the judge and insisted that the juror’s removal would embolden attorneys to “target and eliminate certain demographics from jury service.”
“African American and evangelical Christians are more likely than others to believe that God speaks to them,” Pryor wrote in his 55-page dissent, “and the majority’s decision now requires that these eligible jurors be stricken for cause if a discriminating lawyer elicits during (jury selection) that God communicates with them.”
Pryor argued that the juror’s claim of divine commandment might have been true, and he argued that perhaps more juries might consult “the Holy Ghost” when deciding cases.