Trumps SCOTUS Picks

Trump’s Possible Conservative Nominees to the Supreme Court

Trump Court

Republican presumed Presidential Candidate for 2016 kept his campaign promise to release a list of names of people who represent his Conservative, Constitutional Viewpoints. 

He had also stated that he would pick candidates from this list, and perhaps others, who represent similar values. 

The danger of doing this is to give the left, and some #NeverTrump republicans a chance to “pick the carcass clean” before these people are ever nominated.  That said, a politician actually did what he said he would do.  Below is a list of these candidates and a brief description of their background and judicial experience.

  1. Steven Colloton-Iowa:  53 years of age and is currently a federal judge who has served on the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit since 2003.  Colloton was appointed by President George W. Bush on February 12, 2003.  His judicial highlights include service as a special assistant to the attorney general in the within the US DOJ from 1990 to 1991; an assistant US Attorney from 1991 – 1999;  concurrently, from 1995-1996 he was an associate independent counsel to Kenneth Starr’s Office of Independent Counsel investigating President Bill Clinton.

  2. Allison Eid-Colorado:  51 years of age and is currently serving as the 95th Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court after her appointment to this position by Governor Bill Owens in 2006.  Before joining the Court, Justice Eid was the Solicitor General of the State of Colorado, serving as the chief legal officer to the Colorado Attorney General and representing Colorado officials and agencies in state and federal court.  She clerked for the Honorable Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and for Judge Jerry E. Smith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Houston, Texas.

  3. Raymond Gruender-Missouri:  53 years of age and is currently a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit after being nominated by President George W. Bush in 2004.  In 1990, Gruender  became an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri; In 2000, he rejoined the United States Attorneys’ Office, and in 2001 he became the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri.  He is noted for his opinion that a woman does not have a right to insurance coverage for contraceptives used solely to prevent pregnancy (this opinion is used to combat Obamacare’s mandate for force employers to provide birth control coverage); striking down a law that exempted Planned Parenthood from having to provide “Informed Consent” to their clients seeking an abortion.  This required Planned Parenthood to inform their abortion clients that: “abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” 

  4. Thomas Hardiman-Pennsylvania:  51 years of age, is currently a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit who was nominated for this position by George W. Bush in 2007.  Hardiman’s majority opinion on two cases have been upheld by SCOTUS, US v. Abbott and Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders.  His dissenting opinion was also upheld by SCOTUS in Barkes v. First Correctional Medical, Inc.  These opinions, as well as others, were based on a conservative view of the Constitution and involved 1st, 2nd and 4th amendment protections.

  5. Raymond Kethledge-Michigan:  51 years of age, is currently a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit who was nominated for this position by President George W. Bush in 2006 and finally confirmed in 2008.  Kethledge clerked for Sixth Circuit Judge Ralph B. Guy, Jr. in 1994.  He later became judiciary counsel to Michigan Senator Spencer Abraham, then clerked for United States Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in 1997.  Long term private sector experience in contract law.

  6. Joan Larsen-Michigan:  Appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court by Gov. Rick Snyder on September 30, 2015.  She clerked for David B. Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and for Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court.  She was also assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel.

  7. Thomas Lee of Utah:  52 years of age, and the brother of Senator Mike Lee, is currently the Associate Chief Justice on the Utah Supreme Court.  During his early career he clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court of the United States and Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  He also served as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division of the United States Justice Department and as the lead counsel in cases brought by the state of Utah in relation to plans to put nuclear waste on the Gosuite Indian Reservation. 

  8. William Pryor-Alabama:  54 years of age, was installed by George W. Bush in 2004, as a recess appointment due to Pryor’s statements against Roe v. Wade, and is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and a Commissioner on the United States Sentencing Commission.  He has also served as the Attorney General of the State of Alabama.  Noted for his opposition to Obamacare mandate for contraception, pro-public prayer, pro-voter Id etc..

  9. David Stras-Minnesota:  42 years of age, is an Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court after being appointed to that position by Gov. Tim Pawlenti in 2010.  He clerked on two federal courts of appeal, for Judges Melvin Brunetti on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and J. Michael Luttig on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.   Stras then worked at the D.C. office of Sidley Austin Brown & Wood for a year, after which he clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas. 

  10. Diane Sykes-Wisconsin:   58 years of age, is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and former Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  She was appointed to the Seventh Circuit by President George W. Bush in 2004   After law school, Sykes clerked for Judge Terence T. Evans at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.  Defended the 2nd Amendment in finding the gun ranges were protected under the 2nd Amendment in the case Ezell v. City of Chicago

  11. Don Willett-Texas:  50 years of age, is a Justice on the Supreme Court of Texas and was appointed by Governor Rick Perry in 2005.   Willett clerked for Judge Jerre Stockton Williams at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  In 1996, he joined then-Governor George W. Bush’s administration as Director of Research and Special Projects, advising on various legal and policy issues; he was the Special Assistant to the President (Bush) and Director of Law and Policy for the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.  He was appointed as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Office of Legal Policy at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he helped coordinate the selection and confirmation of federal judges for President Bush.  In 2003 he returned to Texas to become Deputy Texas Attorney General for Legal Counsel in the office of  Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot.  Willett helped to successfully protect the 10 Commandments monument in the Texas State Capitol and defeated the Pledge of Allegiance challenge for the phrase “Under God”. 

This is an impressive list of possible Conservative Supreme Court nominees.  Several have been opposed by Democrats in the Senate and several have clerked for conservative Justices on the Supreme Court including Justice Scalia. 

It will be interesting to see how the Left and the Right rip these poor people apart.

But, we have a candidate who did what he said he would do.

Novel Concept!

When releasing the list of potential nominees, Trump included this statement:

“Today Donald J. Trump released the much-anticipated list of people he would consider as potential replacements for Justice Scalia at the United States Supreme Court. This list was compiled, first and foremost, based on constitutional principles, with input from highly respected conservatives and Republican Party leadership.

“Mr. Trump stated, “Justice Scalia was a remarkable person and a brilliant Supreme Court Justice. His career was defined by his reverence for the Constitution and his legacy of protecting Americans’ most cherished freedoms. He was a Justice who did not believe in legislating from the bench and he is a person whom I held in the highest regard and will always greatly respect his intelligence and conviction to uphold the Constitution of our country. The following list of potential Supreme Court justices is representative of the kind of constitutional principles I value and, as President, I plan to use this list as a guide to nominate our next United States Supreme Court Justices.”

RD Pierini


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