Block on Trump's Asylum Ban Upheld by Supreme Court
Despite there being no vacancies on the United States Supreme Court, and no plans to expand the High Court, President Donald Trump has announced five more potential candidates to his already long and distinguished "shortlist" of nominees, should another vacancy arise.
If a couple of those names jump out at you, it may be because Judges Newsom and Barrett were confirmed within the last few months. Barrett formerly clerked for Justice Scalia. Newsom was a former clerk to Justice Souter.
Judge Kavanaugh, as speculated by the ABA, may be a sort of enticement from President Trump to Justice Kennedy to retire. Kavanaugh, like Gorsuch, was a former clerk to Justice Kennedy. The idea (and this is all speculation folks) is that Kennedy will be less concerned about retiring if he thinks one of his former clerks is in a good position to succeed him. However, as noted by the New York Times, the White House has stated before that Kavanaugh would be a frontrunner should Justice Kennedy step down
Though the announcement of the update to the SCOTUS shortlist was unexpected, the White House asserts that it was a routine refresh. It noted that the list had not changed in over a year, which begs the question of what prompted the "routine?"
The original shortlist was released while Trump was still on the campaign trail, which could make sense as there have already been Trump 2020 campaign events. Also, it's worth noting that Justice Gorsuch's name was on the original list.