Never mind Scalia. It seems that President-elect Donald Trump has already begun looking for possible replacements for Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
According to a Tuesday report in Politico, Trump transition officials have begun compiling a list of prominent conservatives who Trump might nominate if Ginsburg or Kennedy were to die or have to leave the court because of health reasons. Ginsburg, one of the court’s foremost liberals, is 83 and has battled cancer. Kennedy, a swing-vote appointed by Reagan, is 80.
Trump’s people already believe that his replacement of Scalia is his best opportunity to get a reliable conservative on the court. After all, since Scalia was arguably the court’s most conservative member, there wouldn’t necessarily be any change in the Supreme Court’s ideological composition.
“You’re basically dealing with a situation where no matter what conservative you put on the court you’re establishing the same parity that existed,” a transition official told Politico. “That is first and foremost in everybody’s minds.”
However, when it comes to Ginsburg or Kennedy, that may not work. According to The Advocate, liberals may be more likely to obstruct the process of a conservative judge put before the Senate. That’s why Trump and his team have been trying to find a conservative candidate who would be difficult for liberals to credibly oppose to their base.
One of them was Judge Diane Sykes of the Chicago-based 7th Circuit federal appeals court. She was included on Trump’s list of judges that he revealed on the campaign trail. Her ex-husband, radio host Charlie Sykes, was also a vehement Trump critic during the election season.
It may be difficult, the reasoning went, for liberals to oppose a female with connections to Trump critics even if she would be a conservative voice on the Supreme Court.
Judge William Pryor of the 11th Circuit federal appeals court was also under consideration.
Trump has also said that when it comes to a Supreme Court nominee, he wanted someone “who is not weak.” This was a not entirely subtle reference to justices appointed by Republican presidents who have not been reliably conservative in their legal outlook.
While George H.W. Bush pick David Souter, who was on the court until 2009 and became a reliable liberal vote, was the most visible example, other recent conservative-ish justices appointed by Republicans have included Sandra Day O’Connor, current Chief Justice John Roberts and the aforementioned Anthony Kennedy.
Needless to say, this isn’t going to make liberals happy. And while we don’t think that Donald Trump should be wishing for anyone’s death or ill health, it certainly doesn’t hurt to be prepared in case it happens — specially since it could be the biggest contribution to conservatism President-elect Trump will make during his time in the White House.
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H/T The Daily Caller