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Trump Releases List of Supreme Court Picks

Trump Releases List of Supreme Court Picks

Wednesday, 18 May 2016 02:10 PM

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.

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.

Democratic President Barack Obama in March named centrist appellate court judge Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy. But the Republican-led Senate has refused to hold confirmation hearings or a vote, insisting that Obama's successor, to be elected in November, should get to select Scalia's replacement.

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." 

CRITICAL TWEETS

At least one judge on the list has been critical of Trump. Willett last June tweaked Trump on Twitter. Willet posted about imagining Trump selecting a Supreme Court nominee.

"The mind reels. *weeps-can't finish tweet*," Willett wrote, suggesting he was crying at the idea.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest, at his daily briefing, said he would be surprised if any Democrat would describe any of Trump's picks "as a consensus nominee."

"But the individual President Obama has put forward is somebody that Republicans have described as a consensus nominee," Earnest said of Garland, adding that it would be wise for the Senate to act on Obama's nominee.

Trump's list does not include some prominent conservatives who are viewed as Washington insiders and have been mentioned as potential nominees in the past, including appeals court judge Brett Kavanaugh and Paul Clement, a former solicitor general under Bush.

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."

In March, Trump said he would consult with the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank to compile a list of potential nominees.

The risk for Trump is that public scrutiny of the names on the list could elicit criticism within his own party and from Democrats, who will likely tie Trump to all of the judges' previous positions.

Below is Trump's complete statement:



"Today Donald J. Trump released the much-anticipated list of people he would consider as potential replacements for Justice Scalia at the United States Supreme Court. This list was compiled, first and foremost, based on constitutional principles, with input from highly respected conservatives and Republican Party leadership.

"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.”

Steven Colloton

Steven Colloton of Iowa is a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, a position he has held since President George W. Bush appointed him in 2003. Judge Colloton has a résumé that also includes distinguished service as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, a Special Assistant to the Attorney General in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, and a lecturer of law at the University of Iowa. He received his law degree from Yale, and he clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Judge Colloton is an Iowa native.

Allison Eid

Allison Eid of Colorado is an associate justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. Colorado Governor Bill Owens appointed her to the seat in 2006; she was later retained for a full term by the voters (with 75% of voters favoring retention). Prior to her judicial service, Justice Eid served as Colorado’s solicitor general and as a law professor at the University of Colorado. Justice Eid attended the University of Chicago Law School, and she clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas.

Raymond Gruender

Raymond Gruender of Missouri has been a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit since his 2004 appointment by President George W. Bush. Judge Gruender, who sits in St. Louis, Missouri, has extensive prosecutorial experience, culminating with his time as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri. Judge Gruender received a law degree and an M.B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis.

Thomas Hardiman

Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania has been a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit since 2007. Prior to serving as a circuit judge, he served as a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania since 2003. Before his judicial service, Judge Hardiman worked in private practice in Washington, D.C. and Pittsburgh. Judge Hardiman was the first in his family to attend college, graduating from Notre Dame.

Raymond Kethledge

Raymond Kethledge of Michigan has been a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit since 2008. Before his judicial service, Judge Kethledge served as judiciary counsel to Michigan Senator Spencer Abraham, worked as a partner in two law firms, and worked as an in-house counsel for the Ford Motor Company. Judge Kethledge obtained his law degree from the University of Michigan and clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Joan Larsen

Joan Larsen of Michigan is an Associate Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. Justice Larsen was a professor at the University of Michigan School of Law from 1998 until her appointment to the bench. In 2002, she temporarily left academia to work as an Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. Justice Larsen received her law degree from Northwestern and clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia.

Thomas Lee

Thomas Lee of Utah has been an Associate Justice of the Utah Supreme Court since 2010. Beginning in 1997, he served on the faculty of Brigham Young University Law School, where he still teaches in an adjunct capacity. Justice Lee was Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department’s Civil Division from 2004 to 2005. Justice Lee attended the University of Chicago Law School, and he clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas. Justice Lee is also the son of former U.S. Solicitor General Rex Lee and the brother of current U.S. Senator Mike Lee.

William Pryor

William H. Pryor, Jr. of Alabama is a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He has served on the court since 2004. Judge Pryor became the Alabama Attorney General in 1997 upon Jeff Sessions’s election to the U.S. Senate. Judge Pryor was then elected in his own right in 1998 and reelected in 2002. In 2013, Judge Pryor was confirmed to a term on the United States Sentencing Commission. Judge Pryor received his law degree from Tulane, and he clerked for Judge John Minor Wisdom of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

David Stras

David Stras of Minnesota has been an Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court since 2010. After his initial appointment, he was elected to a six-year term in 2012. Prior to his judicial service, Judge Stras worked as a legal academic at the University of Minnesota Law School. In his time there, he wrote extensively about the function and structure of the judiciary. Justice Stras received his law degree and an M.B.A. from the University of Kansas. He clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas.

Diane Sykes

Diane Sykes of Wisconsin has served as a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit since 2004. Prior to her federal appointment, Judge Sykes had been a Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court since 1999 and a Wisconsin trial court judge of both civil and criminal matters before that. Judge Sykes received her law degree from Marquette.

Don Willett

Don Willett of Texas has been a Justice of the Texas Supreme Court since 2005. He was initially appointed by Governor Rick Perry and has been reelected by the voters twice. Prior to his judicial service, Judge Willett worked as a senior fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, as an advisor in George W. Bush’s gubernatorial and presidential administrations, as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy, and as a Deputy Attorney General under then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. Justice Willett received his law degree and a master’s degree from Duke.

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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. Trump's picks include Steven Colloton of Iowa, Allison Eid of Colorado and Raymond Gruender...
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2016-10-18
Wednesday, 18 May 2016 02:10 PM
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