President Trump Proposes New Supreme Court Picks

On September 9, 2020, President Donald Trump released a new list of 20 potential nominees to the Supreme Court of the United States.

The President’s latest list includes eight federal appellate judges, two federal district court judges, two former U.S. Solicitors General, a state supreme court justice, and an ambassador. In an unusual twist, President Trump has also included four elected officials: U.S. Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Josh Hawley (R-MO),[1] as well as Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron. The list is intended as an addition to—not a replacement of—the President’s existing list of 25 potential nominees.

President Trump’s new list includes potential nominees who have outstanding resumés. One such person is former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, a renowned litigator who has argued more than 100 cases before the Supreme Court. Clement has argued multiple religious liberty cases before the high court and defended the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 as well. In 2011, Clement displayed moral courage by resigning from the law firm of King & Spalding so that he could continue defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. Sen. Cruz also has outstanding qualifications. In addition to his Senate experience and conservative bona fides, the Senator served as Texas Solicitor General from 2003 to 2008; in that capacity, he authored dozens of Supreme Court briefs and argued before the high court nine times. Others on the list may not be ready for Supreme Court consideration; Sen. Cotton and 34-year-old Kentucky Attorney General Cameron, in particular, would likely be criticized for their comparative lack of litigation experience if they were nominated to the high court in the near future.

In releasing the new list, President Trump is highlighting the difference between the types of Supreme Court nominees he would select and the types of nominees that would likely be chosen under a Biden administration.

[1]                Sen. Hawley has indicated that he is unwilling to be considered for a Supreme Court vacancy.