President Donald Trump on Sept. 9 released an expanded list of people he'd consider naming to the Supreme Court if a vacancy opens up, including Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
“Apart from matters of war and peace, the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice is the most important decision an American president can make,” Trump said at the White House in Washington.
The candidates on the list (see the end of this article) would uphold the Constitution if approved, Trump said, adding, “The 20 additions I am announcing today would be jurists in the mold of Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito.”
Trump warned of a dismal future if the Supreme Court ever included a majority of Democrat-appointed justices, claiming they would “erase the Second Amendment, silence political speech, require taxpayers to fund extreme late-term abortion.”
“In the recent past, many of our most treasured freedoms including religious liberty, free speech, and the right to keep and bear arms, have been saved by a single vote on the United States Supreme Court,” he said.
Several people on the expanded list immediately suggested they weren’t interested in being nominated for a seat on the court.
Cruz said in a statement that he was grateful for Trump’s confidence in him but that he planned to be a senator “for many years to come.”
Hawley said he has “no interest” in the Supreme Court, adding, “I look forward to confirming constitutional conservatives.”
In 2016, Trump’s unorthodox campaign drew support from establishment conservatives when he released a list of judges he said he'd choose from for Supreme Court nominations if elected.
The list was expanded in December 2016 to include Neil Gorsuch, whom Trump nominated to fill the seat left vacant by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death.
Brett Kavanaugh was added to the list in late 2017. Kavanaugh was Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee. He filled a seat that opened up when Justice Anthony Kennedy retired in 2018.
Kavanaugh was chosen from 25 candidates, many of whom are currently judges on federal courts.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters on Sept. 8 that the list of Supreme Court picks would be released shortly.
White House aides, Trump, and White House lawyers received input from others in putting together the list.
Trump has repeatedly touted his judicial nominees to the Supreme Court and lower courts. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the Republican-controlled Senate have regularly approved Trump’s nominees.
“Our work with the administration to renew our federal courts is not a partisan or political victory,” McConnell said in June. “It’s a victory for the rule of law and for the Constitution itself. If judges applying the law and the Constitution as they’re written strikes any of our colleagues as a threat to their political agenda, then the problem, I would argue, is with their agenda.”
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in June said his campaign was putting together a list of potential nominees.
“We are putting together a list of a group of African American women who are qualified and have the experience to be on the court,” Biden said at a press conference. “I am not going to release that until we go further down the line in vetting them.”
The Biden campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The age of several justices means Trump or Biden could get multiple picks during the next term.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87, the oldest justice, has struggled with multiple health issues in recent years. Stephen Breyer, also appointed by President Bill Clinton, is the second-oldest justice.
No other justices are older than 72.
Additions to Trump’s Supreme Court potential nominee list include the following:
Bridget Shelton Bade of Arizona, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit
Daniel Cameron, Kentucky attorney general
Paul Clement of Virginia, former U.S. solicitor general
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
Stuart Kyle Duncan of Louisiana, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit
Steven Engel of Washington, assistant attorney general
Noel Francisco of New York, former U.S. solicitor general
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.)
James Ho of Texas, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit
Gregory Katsas of Virginia, District of Columbia Court of Appeals
Barbara Lagoa of Florida, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
Christopher Landau of Maryland, U.S. ambassador to Mexico
Carlos Muñiz of Florida, Supreme Court of Florida
Martha Pacold of Illinois, District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Peter Phipps of Pennsylvania, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit
Sarah Pitlyk of Missouri, District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
Allison Jones Rushing of North Carolina, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
Kate Todd of Virginia, deputy assistant to the president
Lawrence VanDyke of Nevada, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit
The list before the additions:
Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
Keith Blackwell of Georgia, Supreme Court of Georgia
Charles Canady of Florida, Supreme Court of Florida
Steven Colloton of Iowa, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit
Allison Eid of Colorado, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit
Britt Grant of Georgia, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
Raymond Gruender of Missouri, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit
Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit
Raymond Kethledge of Michigan, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit
Joan Larsen of Michigan, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah)
Thomas Lee of Utah, Supreme Court of Utah
Edward Mansfield of Iowa, Supreme Court of Iowa
Federico Moreno of Florida, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
Kevin Newsom of Alabama, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
William Pryor Jr. of Alabama, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
Margaret Ryan of Virginia, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
David Stras of Minnesota, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit
Diane Sykes of Wisconsin, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
Amul Thapar of Kentucky, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit
Timothy Tymkovich of Colorado, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit
Robert Young of Michigan, Supreme Court of Michigan (retired)
Don Willett of Texas, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit
Patrick Wyrick of Oklahoma, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma