Trump Names Supreme Court Candidates for a Nonexistent Vacancy

Frederick Owens
November 20, 2017

Kavanaugh has been reputed before as a conceivable Republican chosen one for the high court.

Trump said he would consider Georgia Justice Britt Grant for a position on the nation's highest court should a new vacancy occur, adding the jurist to a pool of roughly two-dozen other potential appointees.

When Trump originally released his list a year ago, the court was short a justice. Trump released his original list of potential Supreme Court nominees last May, before Gorsuch was eventually confirmed to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. There is nothing unknown about them.

The White House didn't immediately say why it made a decision to add names to its list now, though top administration officials - including Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House counsel Don McGahn - were addressing the Federalist Society in Washington on Friday.

"President Trump will choose a nominee for a future Supreme Court vacancy, should one arise, from this updated list of 25 individuals", the White House said.

Mr. Trump's new candidates add to a roster of committed judicial conservatives compiled by Donald F. McGahn II, Mr. Trump's longtime election lawyer and now the White House counsel, with help from two leading conservative policy groups: the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society.

The court now consists of five conservatives and four liberals, with conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy sometimes joining with the liberals on high-profile issues such as gay rights and abortion.

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Court watchers have been eying Justice Anthony Kennedy as a possible retirement, though he's given no indication that he's planning on leaving.

Should any of those step down, Trump would get a historic opportunity to shape the court in a more conservative direction for decades to come.

Conservatives criticize the federal judiciary as too liberal, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the same conference lashed out at "activist judges".

Catherine Glenn Foster, president of the anti-abortion advocacy group Americans United for Life, said she was pleased with the new selections.

As for Barrett, "the dogma lives loudly in her", McGahn said jokingly.

Trump successfully appointed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court earlier this year and while it's by no means certain that he will get to make a second appointment, a number of justices now on the bench are nearing - or have already celebrated - their 80th birthdays. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who questioned Barrett at her Senate hearing over whether she could separate her personal beliefs from her legal duties.

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