This column by ACRU General Counsel Ken Klukowski was published November 17, 2017 by Breitbart.
WASHINGTON, DC—President Donald Trump added five judges to his list of potential Supreme Court justices on Friday, as the White House prepares for the possibility of a vacancy on the nation’s highest court before the 2018 midterm elections.
Judicial appointments have proven one of the president’s best issues. It excites the GOP base and cuts in his favor among moderate voters—and is giving him what he acknowledges is likely a 40-year legacy. The president’s successful nomination and confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court remains one of the top achievements of his administration in its first year.
The issue of judicial appointments first became prominent for Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign, where he released a list of potential justices to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia. He later expanded that list to 21 and promised to adhere to that list for the Scalia seat. As president, he later selected Gorsuch from that expanded list and has won widespread praise for the decision.
President Trump’s team has continued to vet distinguished judges across the nation, including new judges and has now updated his list with five additional names.
- Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Kavanaugh was a law clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, who then was a top lawyer in the Bush 43 White House, and has served on the D.C. Circuit for more than a decade.
- Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Barrett was a law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia and, until appointed to the appellate court by President Trump, worked as a professor at Notre Dame Law School.
- Judge Kevin Newsom of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Newsom clerked for Justice David Souter, then served as Alabama solicitor general.
- Justice Britt Grant of the Georgia Supreme Court. Grant served in the Bush 43 White House, then later as Georgia solicitor general.
- Justice Patrick Wyrick of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The youngest person on the list at age 36, Wyrick is the former Oklahoma solicitor general.
With these additions, President Trump’s list now includes 25 names.
Court watchers believe that President Trump could get two more Supreme Court picks in the current presidential term. They note it is distinctly possible that Justice Kennedy could retire in 2018, and also that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—who is 84 years old—could leave the bench before the 2020 presidential election.