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.