“We’ve been working very closely, the president has, with the White House general counsel, getting input from a number of others, and so I’m excited about the list,” Meadows told reporters at the White House on Tuesday. “The president will be signing off on that in the coming days.”
Expectations have been building for the release of the list, which Trump earlier said would come at the beginning of September.
“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. If given the opportunity, I will only choose from this list, as in the past, a Conservative Supreme Court Justice,” Trump wrote in a tweet in June.
Meadows said the president was working on the list but that other priorities had taken precedence.
“We’ve been working on the SCOTUS picks. I don’t know that there’s been a delay as much as there has been a whole lot of other priorities that we’ve been working on and so I’m optimistic that you’ll see those SCOTUS picks in coming days,” Meadows said.
Trump first released a list of possible Supreme Court nominees in 2016 with input from conservatives affiliated with The Federalist Society, with experts widely crediting the move as winning over many evangelical voters. Current Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh were on that list. The president has made the confirmation of 200 federal judges, including two Supreme Court justices, a big part of his reelection platform, in line with the Republican goal of filling every appeals court opening by the end of the year.
In June, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) urged Trump to revamp his process of compiling his list of potential Supreme Court nominees after warning that some conservative voters have expressed deep disappointment with a recent run of the highest court’s left-leaning rulings. In an interview with Politico, Hawley singled out a June 15 high court decision expanding the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s ban on sex discrimination in hiring beyond biologically-determined sex, to also cover sexual orientation and gender identity.
Hawley called for religious conservatives to be more involved in discussions around judicial picks. “Who actually goes out and votes for judges?” Hawley told the publication. “It’s conservative Catholics, conservative Jews, evangelicals, Mormons. That coalition of folks is vitally important to the Republican Party. I think they feel just shocked at what’s going on with the Supreme Court, so I think it’s vital that they be heard from and involved in this process.”
Trump has touted his judicial appointments as an important accomplishment of his administration, warning that, if Democratic nominee Joe Biden wins the race for the White House, this would mean more liberals on the Supreme Court.