We've been waiting for months for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to release his list of potential Supreme Court appointees. Today he actually came through on that promise. The would-be justices, in the (alphabetical) order in which they appear in the AP story that broke the news, are:
- Judge Steve Colloton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (Iowa)
- Justice Allison Eid of the Colorado Supreme Court
- Judge Raymond Gruender of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (Missouri)
- Judge Thomas Hardiman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (Pennsylvania)
- Judge Raymond Kethledge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (Michigan)
- Justice Joan Larsen of the Michigan Supreme Court
- Justice Thomas Lee of the Utah Supreme Court
- Judge William Pryor of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (Alabama)
- Justice David Stras of the Minnesota Supreme Court
- Judge Diane Sykes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Wisconsin)
- Justice Don Willett of the Texas Supreme Court
This is an exceptional list. I’m not intimately familiar with all 11 judges and I don’t expect to agree with all of them on everything, but those whose jurisprudence I know well are excellent and the others have sterling reputations. These are not squishes or lightweights.
Also notable and commendable is that 5 of the 11 are state supreme court justices; not all judicial talent is already on the federal bench and the U.S. Supreme Court could use that sort of different perspective. I'll forego quibbling over this or that pick -- whom to drop for a top 10 or 5, whom to add to round out to 15, whether Senator Mike Lee would be better than his brother -- but want to emphasize that these are among the very best judges who are young and smart enough to be on the Court.
I’m no fan of the Donald -- and who knows whether he’d follow through if elected? -- but he’s listening to the right advisers here. As I've previously written, Trump may not know originalism from origami, but there are better reasons to vote against him than judges.