Alabama Attorneys General
William Holcombe Pryor, Jr.
Attorney General: 1997-2004
Born in Mobile, Alabama to William and Laura Pryor, William Holcombe Pryor, Jr. was raised in a devoutly Roman Catholic family. He and his siblings attended McGill-Toolen Catholic High School in Mobile. He earned his B.A. from Northeast Louisiana University in 1984 and his J.D. from Tulane University Law School in 1987, where he served as editor in chief of the Tulane Law Review.
Pryor served as a law clerk to Judge John Minor Wisdom of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit from 1987 to 1988. Pryor worked as a private attorney from 1988-1995, serving as adjunct professor at the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University from 1989-1995. Pryor also taught federal jurisdiction at the University of Alabama School of Law.
From 1995-1997, he served as Alabama's deputy attorney general. He became the state's Attorney General in 1997 when the incumbent AG, Jeff Sessions, was elected to the U.S. Senate. Pryor was, at that time, the youngest state attorney general in the United States. Pryor was elected in 1998 and reelected in 2002. At reelection, Pryor garnered nearly 59% of the vote, the highest percentage of any statewide candidate.
Pryor received national attention in 2003 when he called for the removal of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who had disobeyed a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Judicial Building. Pryor said that although he agreed with the propriety of displaying the Ten Commandments in a courthouse, he was bound to follow the court order and uphold the rule of law. Pryor personally prosecuted Moore for violations of the Canons of Judicial Ethics, and the Alabama Court of the Judiciary unanimously removed Moore from office.
On February 20, 2004, Bill Pryor resigned as Attorney General of Alabama to accept a recess appointment from President George W. Bush as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals, eleventh circuit. Pryor was nominated for a lifetime appointment on February 14, 2005, confirmed by the Senate on June 9, 2005, and received his commission on June 10, 2005.
Pryor is married to Kristan Wilson Pryor, and the couple has two daughters, Caroline and Victoria Pryor.