Decided - The FindLaw Noteworthy Decisions and Settlements Blog

Donald Trump Woos Classic Conservatives With SCOTUS Wish List

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is not exactly the conciliatory type, and he seems to like getting people riled up. But today Trump tried to woo conservatives by releasing a list of Supreme Court nominees that is, reports CNN, widely pleasing to people in the Republican Party.

The list contains the names of 11 conservative judges who could ostensibly replace the deceased Justice Antonin Scalia, both physically and in spirit. Trump's move is viewed as an effort to relieve conservative fears that Trump will not be a reliable Republican representative.

Toeing the Party Line

It is unusual for a presidential candidate to release a Supreme Court wish list, but Trump is not a usual candidate, and that has been a problem for him with some Republicans. Now that he has provided his draft picks, as it were, some high-ranking party members seem pleased.

Texas Senator John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, reacted positively to the list. He told CNN, "It's reassuring for conservatives to know what he'll be looking for were he elected president."

Conservative legal experts at the Heritage Foundation and the Judicial Crisis Network also expressed pleasure about list. John Malcolm, who apparently put his own list of eight Supreme Court candidates together just last March, wholeheartedly approved of Trump's choices, saying. "This is a pretty fine list that I would think would satisfy for most conservatives. If these are the kinds of people whom he is going to consider, that should satisfy any conservative."

Here's the Donald's full list:

  • Steven Colloton of Iowa
  • Allison Eid of Colorado
  • Raymond Gruender of Missouri
  • Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania
  • Raymond Kethledge of Michigan
  • Joan Larsen of Michigan
  • Thomas Lee of Utah
  • William Pryor of Alabama
  • David Stras of Minnesota
  • Diane Sykes of Wisconsin
  • Don Willett of Texas

Dems Can't Get Satisfaction

The Democrats, unsurprisingly, did not share the enthusiasm of conservatives for the 11 judges listed. In fact, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that not one of Trump's choices for the Supreme Court could be called a "consensus nominee," which is what Republicans have demanded from Democrats while refusing to consider President Obama's nominee to the court, Merrick Garland.

After Justice Scalia's death, Obama named Garland, a former prosecutor, as his choice for the nation's highest court. But Republicans have refused to hold confirmation hearings or vote, holding out for the next president in the hope a Republican is elected and can name nominees.

Poetic Justice

Trump's Supreme Court wish list is made up of eight men and three women, all white. But some media outlets have been impressed with the fact that this list includes conservatives who have not always been Trump fans.

Most notable of these is Justice Don Willett of the Texas Supreme Court, also named the official Tweeter Laureate of Texas in 2015 by the state's House of Representatives. On the day that the reality TV businessman announced his presidential candidacy, Justice Willet tweeted this bit of poetry:

The poetic justice has not responded to Trump's list today, at least not on Twitter, although he did congratulate a law school graduate. Justice Willet is probably digesting the news. No doubt the mind reels.

Follow FindLaw for Consumers on Facebook and Twitter (@FindLawConsumer).

Related Resources: