President Donald Trump announced he will release a new list of conservative Supreme Court justice nominees by Sept. 1, after several decisions rendered by the high court didn’t go his way.
Top Trump aides and advisers told the president to create a new list ahead of the election to remind voters why they need to keep a Republican in the White House, sources familiar with the topic told Axios.
But talks of creating a new list had been kept under wraps until two recent court decisions.
First, Trump’s initial Supreme Court nominee Justice Neil Gorsuch delivered the majority decision of the court on the topic of prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity. Then, Trump received another blow when the Supreme Court ruled his administration did not properly end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
After the DACA decision was rendered, Trump tweeted his new list would be forthcoming.
"I will be releasing a new list of Conservative Supreme Court Justice nominees, which may include some, or many of those already on the list, by September 1, 2020," Trump tweeted. "If given the opportunity, I will only choose from this list, as in the past, a Conservative Supreme Court Justice. Based on decisions being rendered now, this list is more important than ever before (Second Amendment, Right to Life, Religious Liberty, etc.) – VOTE 2020!"
One Trump adviser told Axios that Trump’s tweet “probably caught number of people a little bit by surprise.”
“The idea for a new list has been floating around for a while, but the DACA ruling might’ve fueled the desire for more originalist justices," an administration official told Axios.
The official said the tweet was likely put out by Trump as a way for him to show voters he is invested in putting conservative justices on the bench.
"There’s a danger that people who voted for you get demoralized," with rulings like the recent ones, a White House official told Axios. In 2016, the official said, Trump promised to appease conservatives with his judge picks. Now, he wants to prove he's still committed to that cause as the election nears.
"The Supreme Court will once again be an election year issue as it was four years ago," former Solicitor General Ken Starr told Fox News.
The Federalist Society's Leonard Leo, who helped Trump with his judge picks during the beginning of his presidency, said the new list makes sense, even though he was taken aback by the tweet.
“The President seems open to considering names from the current list, which includes people like Amy Coney Barrett, Mike Lee, and Amul Thapar, but his decision to expand the list is a great idea because he’s put so many other great people on the court of appeals bench. He can leverage all that talent, and strike some new ground," Leo said.
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