Like Eugene Volokh, I agree that Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees is a good one. It includes many impressive people. No doubt about it. Whatever adviser compiled the list deserve some credit.
When he discovers that most, if not all, the people on the list would be at odds with his longstanding commitments, a President Trump could decide to nominate other jurists, who are more in line with his own longstanding preferences. And he could easily find any number of excuses for deviating from the list.
Longstanding commitments count for more as an indication of Trump’s (or any candidate’s) real intentions than campaign ploys. Moreover, as co-blogger Orin Kerr points out, Trump admits that the list is not a true commitment but merely one that he plans to use as a “guide” because it is “representative of the kind of constitutional principles I value.” A “plan” to use the list as a “guide” is not the same thing as a commitment to choose only people whose names appear on the list.
In sum, we should not be fooled. Trump’s list is not a true commitment, and it does not outweigh a consistent record of opposing important constitutional rights and limitations on government power. There is still every reason for principled advocates of limited government to continue to oppose Trump.