- REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Donald Trump has released the names of his top picks to fill the vacancy on the US Supreme Court.
On Wednesday, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee whittled down a list of potential judges to replace former Justice Antonin Scalia, who died suddenly earlier this year.
Trump’s list includes:
Steven Colloton, federal judge, US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (Iowa)Allison Eid, associate justice, Colorado Supreme CourtRaymond Gruender, federal judge, US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (Missouri)Thomas Hardiman, federal judge, US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (Pennsylvania)Raymond Kethledge, federal judge, US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (Michigan)Joan Larsen, associate justice, Michigan Supreme CourtThomas Rex Lee, associate chief justice, Utah Supreme CourtWilliam H. Pryor, federal judge, US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (Alabama)David Stras, associate justice, Minnesota Supreme CourtDiane S. Sykes, federal judge, US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Wisconsin)Don Willett, associate justice, Texas Supreme Court
Trump said in a statement:
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.
President Barack Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to replace Scalia earlier this year, but Senate Republicans have refused to hold confirmation hearings, citing the desire to wait until after the election to appoint a new justice.
For her part, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton has not said whether she will pull Garland’s nomination in favor of a different justice if she wins the presidency.
Trump has dropped hints about potential nominees in the past.
During a Republican primary debate in February, Trump floated Sykes and Pryor as potential replacements for Scalia. The real-estate mogul told The Washington Post last month that he was “getting names” from Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions and the Heritage Foundation.
Many of the names on Heritage’s “wish list” were on Trump’s list on Wednesday, including Pryor, Sykes, Lee, Colloton, Gruender, and Willett.
Many of Trump’s potential picks would likely spark fierce Democratic opposition.
As Slate noted earlier this year, Senate Democrats opposed Pryor’s Circuit Court nomination, citing his description of Roe v. Wade as “the worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.” Gruender has also ruled in favor of laws curtailing access to abortion, writing in a 2012 opinion that abortion increases “depression, anxiety, suicide ideation, childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, child neuroticism, and low self-esteem.”
Though Trump’s potential nominees were mostly appointed by Republicans, not all appear to be fans of the controversial real-estate magnate.
Willet, whose tweets have helped him garner a large social-media following, has repeatedly mocked the presumptive Republican presidential nominee throughout the Republican primary:
“With malice toward none, with charity for all . . . except for all the losers, clowns, and dummies.”
—President Donald Lincoln
— Justice Don Willett (@JusticeWillett) August 7, 2015
— Justice Don Willett (@JusticeWillett) March 15, 2016