Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has released a list of 11 potential Supreme Court justices he plans to vet to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia. CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin called the list a “conservative dream team.” He said it would be very similar to what conservative Sen. Ted Cruz would have released.
Mr. Trump stated, “Justice Scalia was a remarkable person and a brilliant Supreme Court Justice. His career was defined by his reverence for the Constitution and his legacy of protecting Americans’ most cherished freedoms. He was a Justice who did not believe in legislating from the bench and he is a person whom I held in the highest regard and will always greatly respect his intelligence and conviction to uphold the Constitution of our country. The following list of potential Supreme Court justices is representative of the kind of constitutional principles I value and, as President, I plan to use this list as a guide to nominate our next United States Supreme Court Justices.”
Newsmax Six of them are judges who were appointed to federal appeals courts around the country by Republican former President George W. Bush. The other five serve on various state supreme courts.
Scalia’s replacement could tip the ideological balance of the court, which now is evenly divided with four conservative justices and four liberals. Scalia, who died in February, was one of the court’s most conservative justices.
All of Trump’s 11 judges are listed as affiliated with the Federalist Society on the influential conservative legal group’s website. The organization is known as a breeding ground for conservative legal thinkers.
It is unusual for a presidential candidate to release names of potential Supreme Court or Cabinet nominees before winning an election. But Trump is working to assure conservatives in his own party that, if elected president on Nov. 8, he would not appoint a liberal or moderate judge to the court.
Trump allies had encouraged him to announce the names of potential court nominees in order to allay fears among conservatives wary of a Trump presidency.
Trump’s list includes: Steven Colloton of Iowa, a judge on the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; Raymond Gruender of Missouri, also a judge on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals; and Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania, a judge on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.
It also includes: Raymond Kethledge of Michigan, a judge on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals; William Pryor of Alabama, a judge on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals; and Diane Sykes of Wisconsin, a judge on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The state supreme court jurists include: Allison Eid of Colorado; Joan Larsen of Michigan; Thomas Lee of Utah; David Stras of Minnesota; and Don Willett of Texas.
Lee is the brother of Senator Mike Lee of Utah, one of the most conservative members of the U.S. Senate. Sykes is the wife of conservative Wisconsin radio host Charles Sykes. The radio host posted on Twitter that his wife would make a great justice, but that “I simply don’t believe Trump.”
Trump said in a statement that his “list of potential Supreme Court justices is representative of the kind of constitutional principles I value and, as President, I plan to use this list as a guide to nominate our next United States Supreme Court Justices.”
See background on these choices below: