On Wednesday, President Donald Trump updated his slate of Supreme Court justice nominations with twenty new names if a vacancy occurs during his potential second term. An ever-growing cast of conserative superstars, Trump’s rejuvenation of courts, including Supreme Court nominations of Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, ranks as one of Trump’s most enduring accomplishments. Under a GOP-controlled Senate, Trump has appointed 203 judges to the federal bench, with 53 to federal courts of appeal, and “will likely get to 300 judges by the end of his first term,” according to campaign manager Bill Stepien.
With 87-year-old liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg undergoing cancer treatment, Trump will likely appoint, at least, one more justice if he wins re-election. At age 82, fellow liberal Justice Stephen Breyer may also be nearing the end of his career. Divided 5-4 between conservatives and liberals, another nomination from Trump could seal a conservative majority in the high court for decades to come.
As Trump put it, appointing Supreme Court justices is “the most important decision an American president can make.” In remarks at the White House, Trump believes he could possibly appoint four new justices during his second term. “For this reason, candidates for president owe the American people a specific list of individuals they consider for the United States Supreme Court,” he said.
A trio of U.S. Senators highlight the list, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, with varying levels of enthusiasm between them, all of whom Trump believed “would be jurists in the mold of Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito.” Senator Hawley expressed his desire to remain in the Senate, stating, “I appreciate the President’s confidence in listing me as a potential Supreme Court nominee. But as I told the President, Missourians elected me to fight for them in the Senate, and I have no interest in the high court.”
Senator Cruz didn’t reject the role, however did not indicate significant interest .“I am grateful for the president’s confidence in me and for his leadership in nominating principled constitutionalists to the federal bench over the last four years…It’s humbling and an immense honor to be considered for the Supreme Court…In the Senate, I have been blessed to lead the fight to preserve our constitutional liberties—every day, to defend the rights of 29 million Texans—and I look forward to continuing to do so for many years to come,” said Cruz in a statement.
Out of the three, Senator Cotton holds the most interest, starting “I’m honored that President Trump asked me to consider serving on the Supreme Court and I’m grateful for his confidence. I will always heed the call of service to our nation. The Supreme Court could use some more justices who understand the difference between applying the law and making the law, which the Court does when it invents a right to an abortion, infringes on religious freedom, and erodes the Second Amendment.”
All three could be 2024 Republican presidential candidates.
Other centerpieces include Former Solicitor General Noel Francisco, a staunch Trump defender, and Solicitor General Paul Clement, who has argued more Supreme Court cases since 2000 than any other lawyer in or out of Washington. Familiar faces Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Thomas Hardiman of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, both of whom Trump considered to fill Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat following his retirement in 2018.
Kentucky attorney general Daniel Cameron, who is currently wrestling with criminally charging the three officers who shot Breonna Taylor during a drug investigation with a no-knock warrant, also earned a nomination.
Nearly half of his nominations are non-judges. Out of the 11 judges nominated, 10 were previously nominated by Trump himself to their current position.
“Every one of these individuals will ensure equal justice, equal treatment, and equal rights for citizens of every race, color, religion, and creed,” said Trump. “Together, we will defend our righteous heritage and preserve our magnificent American way of life.”
The full list of nominees is below.
- Judge Bridget Bade, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
- Daniel Cameron, Kentucky attorney general
- Paul Clement, former solicitor general
- Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas
- Senator Ted Cruz of Texas
- Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan, 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
- Steven Engel, assistant attorney general at the Justice Department
- Noel Francisco, former solicitor general under the Trump administration
- Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri
- Judge James Ho, 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
- Judge Greg Katsas, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
- Judge Barbara Lagoa, 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
- Christopher Landau, U.S. ambassador to Mexico
- Justice Carlos Muniz, Florida Supreme Court
- Judge Martha Pacold, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
- Judge Peter Phipps, 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
- Judge Sarah Pitlyk, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
- Judge Allison Jones Rushing, 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
- Kate Todd, deputy White House counsel
- Judge Lawrence VanDyke, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Trump also called upon the Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden to release his list of Supreme Court nominees, accusing Biden of choosing nominees “so far left they could never withstand public scrutiny” in Biden’s holding out. “…voters deserve the clarity and transparency of exactly where the priorities will be,” Jay Sekulow, counselor to Trump said. “It is imperative that Joe Biden follow the President’s lead and release his own list and tell Americans where he stands, and what kind of justices he will pick.” Biden has promised to nominate a black woman to the high court if given a chance.
As the Election draws nearer, Trump hopes to employ a similar strategy from 2016, releasing his Supreme Court nominees to solidify his conservative positions to win over on-the-fence conservative and evangelical voters.