Three years ago, in the midst of the presidential campaign, I lauded then‐candidate Donald Trump’s “terrific list of fabulous judges.” This was an unorthodox maneuver — conventional political wisdom is not to put bullseyes on potential nominees’ back — but Trump is an unorthodox politician. Well, now we’re into the 2020 campaign and that old list is getting stale. As I write today in The Federalist, it’s time for an update:
One of the key innovations of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign was his public list of potential Supreme Court nominees. After Justice Antonin Scalia’s passing thrust the court into the forefront of the presidential election, candidate Trump produced a list of judges that held the Republican coalition together and ultimately attracted swing voters in key states.
Three years later, after appointing two justices, the president heads into a reelection campaign where the Supreme Court is no less of an issue. Eighty‐six‐year‐old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s recent cancer treatment is just the latest health concern this leftist icon has faced. She’s vowed to outlast the current president, but if Trump is reelected, the odds seem to be against her. And don’t forget that Justice Stephen Breyer is 81 years old.
So it would be both smart politics and good governance to update the list of SCOTUS contenders. When a vacancy emerges, whether before or after the election, who will be considered?
For my answer, read the whole thing — and for who my preferences are, for now you’ll have to read between the lines.