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Opinion Trump’s Supreme Court shortlist (updated)

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Today, after much delay, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump released a list of 11 potential nominees he would consider to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, the Associated Press reports. The list largely consists of well-respected, right-leaning jurists who would generally be expected to embrace a judicial philosophy similar to the justice they would replace.

The list is as follows (in alphabetical order):

  • Judge Steven Colloton, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit
  • Justice Allison Eid, Supreme Court of Colorado
  • Raymond Gruender, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit
  • Judge Thomas Hardiman, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit
  • Judge Raymond Kethledge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit
  • Justice Joan Larsen, Supreme Court of Michigan
  • Justice Thomas Lee, Supreme Court of Utah
  • Judge William Pryor, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
  • Justice David Stras, Supreme Court of Minnesota
  • Judge Diane Sykes, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
  • Justice Don Willett, Supreme Court of Texas

A few comments on this list: First, every name on the list is eminently qualified for consideration to be a Supreme Court justice. Indeed, in that regard, I will admit I am pleasantly surprised.

Second, it is interesting that the list includes several state supreme court justices and several former Supreme Court clerks (including one former Scalia clerk), and that it consists entirely of sitting judges.

Third, while the list largely consists of individuals one would expect to see on a Republican president’s Supreme Court shortlist, there are some prominent conservative jurists and attorneys missing from the list. These include former solicitor general Paul Clement; Judges Brett Kavanaugh and Janice Rogers Brown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit; Judge Jeffrey Sutton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit; and Judge Neil Gorsuch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit. I am not sure what, if anything, to read into who was included — and who was left off — of Trump’s list.

UPDATE: Several of my co-bloggers have responded to the list, with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Here are posts from Eugene Volokh, Orin Kerr, and Ilya Somin.  Stuart Benjamin also looks at the propriety of releasing such a list, and here’s the Post‘s news coverage.

Meanwhile, Trump himself has already suggested that his consideration of potential nominees will not be confined to individuals on this list.  (That didn’t take long.)