Republican Donald Trump has made Supreme Court nominations a selling point to persuade otherwise reluctant conservatives to back his election.
But a group of conservative legal scholars said Monday that it was not enough.
Twenty-nine members of the conservative legal movement published a statement titled “Originalists against Trump,” pointing out what they describe as Trump’s flaws and lack of allegiance to the Constitution.
“Many Americans still support Trump in the belief that he will protect the Constitution. We understand that belief, but we do not share it,” the group wrote. “Trump’s long record of statements and conduct, in his campaign and in his business career, have shown him indifferent or hostile to the Constitution’s basic features — including a government of limited powers, an independent judiciary, religious liberty, freedom of speech, and due process of law.”
Included in the group were a Northwestern law professor who was one of the founders of the Federalist Society, Steven G. Calabresi; syndicated columnist George F. Will; and a well-regarded conservative law professor at New York University and the University of Chicago, Richard Epstein. The effort was organized by Duke University law professor Stephen E. Sachs and University of Chicago law professor William Baude, a pair of former clerks to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.
The group noted that Trump has released a list of 21 conservatives from which he said he would make Supreme Court nominations. “We do not trust him to do so,” the writers said. “More importantly, we do not trust him to respect constitutional limits in the rest of his conduct in office, of which judicial nominations are only one part.”
The group said it understood that the alternative is Hillary Clinton. “Yet our country’s commitment to its Constitution is not so fragile that it can be undone by a single administration or a single court,” the writers concluded.