'Constitutional values and principles our country was founded on are in jeopardy'Published: 23 hours ago
The U.S. Supreme Court
GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump on Friday beefed up his list of possible nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court, adding the names of two more judges from Colorado and the junior senator from Utah in an effort to convince voters he would put a judge on the bench in the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
“We have a very clear choice in this election. The freedoms we cherish and the constitutional values and principles our country was founded on are in jeopardy,” he said.
He earlier listed about a dozen possible nominees, when he provided names that made up a star-studded assembly of jurists strong on individual rights and constitutional principles.
Fox News commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano described them as “serious” candidates.
Two of the newly added names are from Colorado, and also listed is the junior senator from Utah, giving the list an emphasis on the West.
“The responsibility is greater than ever to protect and uphold these freedoms and I will appoint justices, who like Justice Scalia, will protect our liberty with the highest regard for the Constitution,” Trump added. “This list is definitive and I will choose only from it in picking future justices of the United States Supreme Court.
“I would like to thank the Federalist Society, The Heritage Foundation and the many other individuals who helped in composing this list of 21 highly respected who are the kind of scholars that we need to preserve the very core of our country, and make it greater than ever before.”
At issue is the growing progressive bent of the Supreme Court, with the expectation Hillary Clinton, as president, would follow the lead of Barack Obama in appointing justices like Elena Kagan and Sonio Sotomayor, who voted to create same-sex “marriage” in the nation despite the Constitution’s silence on the issue.
In fact, Kagan had publicly endorsed the idea while the issue was pending before the court by performing same-sex “weddings,” and then refused a request to sit out the decision, which was criticized by top legal experts as unconnected to the Constitution, because of her bias.
For now, the high court is split 4-4 ideologically. Critics fear that the wrong appointee could actually facilitate the demise of, for example, the Second Amendment across the U.S.
Trump, on the other hand, is trying to assure Americans his justices will follow the Constitution and the law.
Among the additions to Trump’s list are Timothy Tymkovich and Neil Gorsuch, both on the 10th U.S. Court of Apeals in Denver. Both were appointed by President George W. Bush and the Colorado Independent describes them as conservative.
That report noted Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, was in Colorado just this week and warned people to think about what a court nominated by Hillary Clinton would do.
“We’re electing a president for the next four years and that president is probably going to set a course of direction of the Supreme Court of the United States for the next 40 years,” Pence said. “You better think about that real hard, Colorado.”
Also added to Trump’s list was Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, the only nonjurist to be added.
Trump earlier had named Colorado Supreme Court Justice Allison Eid as a potential candidate.
The additions to list, and their biographies, from the Trump campaign:
- Keith Blackwell is a justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia. He was appointed to the position in 2012. He had previously served on the Court of Appeals of Georgia. Before serving on the bench, Justice Blackwell was a deputy special attorney general of the State of Georgia, an assistant district attorney in Cobb County, and a commercial litigator in private practice. Justice Blackwell is a graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law.
- Charles Canady is a justice of the Supreme Court of Florida. He has served in that role since 2008, and he served as the court’s chief justice from 2010 to 2012. Prior to his appointment, Justice Canady served as a judge of the Florida Second District Court of Appeal and as a member of the United States House of Representatives for four terms. Justice Canady is a graduate of Yale Law School.
- Neil Gorsuch is a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. He was appointed to the position in 2006. Judge Gorsuch previously served in the Justice Department as a deputy assistant attorney general. Judge Gorsuch was a Marshall Scholar and received his law degree from Harvard. He clerked for Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy.
- Mike Lee is the junior U.S. senator from Utah and currently serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He has previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Utah and as a Supreme Court Clerk for Justice Alito.
- Edward Mansfield is a justice of the Iowa Supreme Court. He was appointed to the court in 2011 and retained by voters in 2012. Justice Mansfield previously served as a judge of the Iowa Court of Appeals. He also teaches law at Drake University as an adjunct professor. Justice Mansfield is a graduate of Yale Law School.
- Federico Moreno is a judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida and a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States. He previously served as a state and county court judge in Florida. Judge Moreno is a graduate of the University of Miami School of Law.
- Margaret A. Ryan has been a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces since 2006. Judge Ryan served in the Marine Corps through deployments in the Philippines and the Gulf War. She then attended Notre Dame Law School through a military scholarship and served as a JAG officer for four years. Judge Ryan clerked for Judge J. Michael Luttig of the Fourth Circuit and Justice Clarence Thomas.
- Amul Thapar is a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, serving since his appointment in 2007, when he became the first South Asian Article III judge. He has taught law students at the University of Cincinnati and Georgetown. Judge Thapar has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C. and the Southern District of Ohio. Immediately prior to his judicial appointment, Judge Thapar was the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Judge Thapar received his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
- Timothy Tymkovich is the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Judge Tymkovich was appointed to the bench in 2003. He previously served as Colorado Solicitor General. Judge Tymkovich is a graduate of the University of Colorado College of Law.
- Robert Young is the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Michigan. He was appointed to the court in 1999, and became part of a majority of justices who embraced originalism and led what one scholar described as a “textualism revolution.” Justice Young previously served as a judge on the Michigan Court of Appeals. Chief Justice Young is a graduate of Harvard Law School.
The earlier possible nominees:
- Steven Colloton of Iowa is a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, a position he has held since President George W. Bush appointed him in 2003. Judge Colloton has a résumé that also includes distinguished service as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, a Special Assistant to the Attorney General in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, and a lecturer of law at the University of Iowa. He received his law degree from Yale, and he clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Judge Colloton is an Iowa native.
- Allison Eid of Colorado is an associate justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. Colorado Governor Bill Owens appointed her to the seat in 2006; she was later retained for a full term by the voters (with 75% of voters favoring retention). Prior to her judicial service, Justice Eid served as Colorado’s solicitor general and as a law professor at the University of Colorado. Justice Eid attended the University of Chicago Law School, and she clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas.
- Raymond Gruender of Missouri has been a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit since his 2004 appointment by President George W. Bush. Judge Gruender, who sits in St. Louis, Missouri, has extensive prosecutorial experience, culminating with his time as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri. Judge Gruender received a law degree and an M.B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis.
- Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania has been a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit since 2007. Prior to serving as a circuit judge, he served as a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania since 2003. Before his judicial service, Judge Hardiman worked in private practice in Washington, D.C. and Pittsburgh. Judge Hardiman was the first in his family to attend college, graduating from Notre Dame.
- Raymond Kethledge of Michigan has been a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit since 2008. Before his judicial service, Judge Kethledge served as judiciary counsel to Michigan Senator Spencer Abraham, worked as a partner in two law firms, and worked as an in-house counsel for the Ford Motor Company. Judge Kethledge obtained his law degree from the University of Michigan and clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy.
- Joan Larsen of Michigan is an Associate Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. Justice Larsen was a professor at the University of Michigan School of Law from 1998 until her appointment to the bench. In 2002, she temporarily left academia to work as an Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. Justice Larsen received her law degree from Northwestern and clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia.
- Thomas Lee of Utah has been an Associate Justice of the Utah Supreme Court since 2010. Beginning in 1997, he served on the faculty of Brigham Young University Law School, where he still teaches in an adjunct capacity. Justice Lee was Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department’s Civil Division from 2004 to 2005. Justice Lee attended the University of Chicago Law School, and he clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas. Justice Lee is also the son of former U.S. Solicitor General Rex Lee and the brother of current U.S. Senator Mike Lee.
- William Pryor Jr. of Alabama is a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He has served on the court since 2004. Judge Pryor became the Alabama Attorney General in 1997 upon Jeff Sessions’s election to the U.S. Senate. Judge Pryor was then elected in his own right in 1998 and reelected in 2002. In 2013, Judge Pryor was confirmed to a term on the United States Sentencing Commission. Judge Pryor received his law degree from Tulane, and he clerked for Judge John Minor Wisdom of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
- David Stras of Minnesota has been an Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court since 2010. After his initial appointment, he was elected to a six-year term in 2012. Prior to his judicial service, Judge Stras worked as a legal academic at the University of Minnesota Law School. In his time there, he wrote extensively about the function and structure of the judiciary. Justice Stras received his law degree and an M.B.A. from the University of Kansas. He clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas.
- Diane Sykes of Wisconsin has served as a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit since 2004. Prior to her federal appointment, Judge Sykes had been a Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court since 1999 and a Wisconsin trial court judge of both civil and criminal matters before that. Judge Sykes received her law degree from Marquette.
- Don Willett of Texas has been a Justice of the Texas Supreme Court since 2005. He was initially appointed by Governor Rick Perry and has been reelected by the voters twice. Prior to his judicial service, Judge Willett worked as a senior fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, as an advisor in George W. Bush’s gubernatorial and presidential administrations, as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy, and as a Deputy Attorney General under then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. Justice Willett received his law degree and a master’s degree from Duke.
The Associated Press suggested Trump’s goal with the list is to “earn the trust of still-skeptical establishment Republicans who question his electability in the general election, as well as conservatives in his party still wary of his commitment to their cause.”
At Powerline blog, Paul Mirengoff wrote: “The list confirms what I have heard – that Trump’s talking to the right conservatives when it comes to the Supreme Court. It doesn’t guarantee a conservative nominee, but it does highlight what is probably the best argument, from a conservative perspective, for voting for Trump – his judicial nominations (and not just to the Supreme Court) are virtually sure to be vastly better than Hillary Clinton’s.”