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Jill Pryor’s Nomination to Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Confirmed
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Jill Pryor’s Nomination to Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Confirmed

Summary: After a two-and-a-half year quest to obtain a seat on the bench of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Jill Pryor’s nomination was finally confirmed by the Senate on Monday.

According to the Daily Report, the Senate voted 97-0 on Monday to confirm Jill Pryor to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. The White House nominated Pryor, an Atlanta attorney with Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore, over two and a half years ago for the post, and the attorney has faced an uphill battle to secure the seat ever since.


President Obama nominated Pryor in February 2012 when Judge Stanley Birch Jr. retired. She was re-nominated by President Obama in January 2013 and January 2014 after two senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, refused to return the blue slip that demonstrated their approval of her nomination to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

The senators finally gave in when the White House allowed them to select three out of four nominees for judicial posts in the Northern District of Georgia. They were also allowed to designate the chief judge of that district, Julie Carnes, for another seat on the Eleventh Circuit.

The roll call vote began at 5:30 p.m. after the state’s two Republican senators, Senator Chambliss and Senator Isakson, the senators who had previously blocked the nomination, took the floor to offer praise to the attorney and urged the remaining senators to confirm her nomination.

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Senator Chambliss was the first senator to vote “aye.” He praised her for having “a legal pedigree beyond reproach.” He added, “She has played a pivotal role in some of the largest, most complex cases in the history of the legal system in our great state of Georgia.” He also noted that she had “taken time to give back to the community.”

Chambliss continued, “The Eleventh Circuit will be well-served by the addition of Ms. Pryor. This is a vacancy that needs to be filled and needs to be filled quickly. Ms. Pryor certainly has the judicial as well as the educational background to serve on the Eleventh Circuit.”

Senator Isakson said that he gave Pryor his “highest recommendation.” Speaking of Pryor, he said, “I want the chamber to know loud and clear that I praise the president and his staff…for the job they did in coordinating with Senator Chambliss and myself and seeking our advice and consent in coming up with a series of appointees for the district and circuit courts in Georgia.”

Pryor was thrilled to be appointed to the bench, stating, “I’m so gratified and honored to finally be here and very, very lucky as well.” She explained that she had no idea the vote would be unanimous, and that she appreciated Chambliss’ and Isakson’s “generous” remarks.

Pryor added, “It was certainly a long process, but I had tremendous support from my law firm. And I got to continue doing what I love to do, which is practice law…and continue doing it with people I really respect and admit…and with their full support. I am very, very excited to join my new colleagues and get started working on the court.” Pryor’s firm held a “vote watching” party as the Senate voted to confirm her appointment.

When Pryor had secured over 90 votes, Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice in Washington, stated, “We are confident that Jill Pryor will be an outstanding addition to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Pryor’s extensive appellate advocacy experience and her demonstrated commitment to civil and criminal pro-bono work make her well-suited to transition from practitioner to judge. And, of course, it’s about time. It’s been more than two and a half years since President Obama first nominated Jill Pryor—and he had to re-nominate her two more times before she was finally confirmed today. Nut now, at last, this critical vacancy on the 11th Circuit has been filled.”

The vote occurred on the Senate’s first day back from August break. Before the Senate adjourned on July 31, it had voted 58-33 to invoke cloture on the nomination. This was required because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was unable to obtain unanimous consent to bring the nomination to the Senate floor for an up-or-down vote without first having a debate.

Pryor received her J.D. from Yale Law School and clerked for Eleventh Circuit Judge J.L. Edmondson before she was hired at Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore. The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Judiciary rated her as “well-qualified.”

Her practice focused on complex business litigation. Pryor serves as a member of the State Bar of Georgia’s Board of Governors and formerly served as the chairwoman of the appellate practice section. She also served for thirteen years as a member of the Eleventh Circuit’s Lawyers Advisory Committee, and is a member of the governing board of Georgia Legal Services and is a former president of the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers.

Photo credit: Daily Report



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