Today, Donald Trump released a list of 11 excellent, principled state and federal court judges he would consider nominating to the Supreme Court if he is elected President. We will collect reactions to the list from RNLA leaders, members, and friends in this post, which will be updated.
RNLA Chair Randy Evans:
I applaud his transparency and willingness to put the names out and vet them thoroughly before the November election so that the American people can see exactly what kind of Justice he would appoint.
Ilya Shapiro, Cato Institute:
This is an exceptional list. I’m not intimately familiar with all 11 judges and I don’t expect to agree with all of them on everything, but those whose jurisprudence I know well are excellent and the others have sterling reputations. These are not squishes or lightweights.
Also notable and commendable is that 5 of the 11 are state supreme court justices; not all judicial talent is already on the federal bench and the U.S. Supreme Court could use that sort of different perspective. I’ll forego quibbling over this or that pick . . . but want to emphasize that these are among the very best judges who are young and smart enough to be on the Court.
South Texas Law Professor Josh Blackman:
This list impresses me for three reasons. First, five of the jurists come from the state court system. We have not had a Justice appointed from a state court since Ronald Reagan plucked Sandra Day O’Connor from the Arizona Court of Appeals. Appointing jurists from the states will implicitly reinforce the importance of federalism–and that the federal Constitution is not the end-all, be-all of laws. Second, the nominees also embody a deep respect for originalism, which was the jurisprudential theory that Justice Scalia taught to a generation of attorneys and judges. Judge Sykes ruled in an important gun case, where she undertook an effort to understand and apply the original understanding of the Second Amendment. Third, he has selected jurists who have evinced a commitment to judicial engagement, and not a rote application of judicial deference. For example, Justice Willett of Texas has written a rigorous and intellectually rich discussion of judicial protection of economic liberty.
RNLA Conference Speaker Carrie Severino stated:
"This list ought to be encouraging to anyone who prioritizes the rule of law, and I congratulate Mr. Trump on making a very significant policy statement about his desire to prioritize the future of the Supreme Court," said Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network, a former clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas.
Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser offered the following comment
“This is an exceptionally strong list of jurists with immense respect for our founding documents. We are encouraged by Mr. Trump’s repeated pledges to appoint constitutionalists, which stands in sharp contrast to Hillary Clinton’s position.”
“Mr. Trump has laid out an impressive list of highly qualified jurists, including Judge Colloton from Iowa, who understand and respect the fundamental principle that the role of the courts is limited and subject to the Constitution and the rule of law.”