- President Donald Trump has added five people to his shortlist of possible Supreme Court picks.
- It’s unclear whether any vacancies on the nine-justice court are looming, but rumors have been swirling in recent months that Justice Anthony Kennedy wants to retire.
President Donald Trump has added five names to his list of prospective Supreme Court nominees, the White House announced on Friday.
Trump’s original list was released in September 2016 before he was elected president, and included then-Colorado federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch, who now sits on the Supreme Court in the seat left vacant by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
“President Trump will choose a nominee for a future Supreme Court vacancy, should one arise,” the White House said in a statement announcing the list. “The President remains deeply committed to identifying and selecting outstanding jurists in the mold of Justice Gorsuch.”
The additions to Trump’s list are made of up three federal appeals court judges and two state Supreme Court justices. Two of the additions are women.
The new additions to the list include:
- Amy Coney Barrett, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
- Britt Grant, a Georgia state Supreme Court justice
- Brett Kavanaugh, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit
- Kevin Newsom, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
- Patrick Wyrick, an Oklahoma state Supreme Court justice
Shortly after the list was released, White House counsel Don McGahn gave a hat tip to the new potential nominees during a speech to the Federalist Society, the conservative legal group that frequently weighs in on the Trump administration’s federal judicial nominees. The audience applauded and cheered as McGahn read the five names.
“What do the judges on the list have in common? They have a demonstrated commitment to originalism and textualism,” McGahn said. “Good judges follow the law, even when their decisions are unpopular. Judicial courage is as important as judicial independence.”
McGahn was referring to two schools of thought among legal scholars, which favors interpreting laws according to the meaning of the Constitution as it was written, and according to the plain text of the documents over the intent of their authors. Gorsuch, like Scalia, is frequently described as both an originalist and textualist.
It’s unclear whether any additional Supreme Court vacancies are looming – rumors began swirling last spring that Justice Anthony Kennedy intended to retire at the end of the term but were shut down several months later.
Last month, Trump reportedly told multiple people in private he believed he would be able to fill three more Supreme Court seats – those of Kennedy, as well as Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor. According to Axios, Trump cited the 84-year-old Ginsburg’s age and Sotomayor’s health – she has Type 1 diabetes – as reasons he believed their seats would soon be vacant.