Trump’s Supreme Court


Here’s the list of potential Trump nominees,:

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, has released a list of 11 potential Supreme Court justices he plans to vet to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia if he’s elected to the White House.

Trump’s picks include Steven Colloton of Iowa, Allison Eid of Colorado and Raymond Gruender of Missouri.

Also on the list are: Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania, Raymond Kethledge of Michigan, Joan Larsen of Michigan, Thomas Lee of Utah, William Pryor of Alabama, David Stras of Minnesota, Diane Sykes of Wisconsin and Don Willett of Texas. Trump had previously named Pryor and Sykes as examples of kind of justices he would choose.

Reading through the TPM comments on the post there on this subject, it seems like we’ve got some cherce* ones here.

Any of our legal types care to chime in?


Image:  William Hogarth, The Court c. 1758.   I know that I’ve used this before.  But it’s just perfect whenever the topic of GOP jurisprudencerecklessness comes up.

Open Thread: “This isn’t Kindergarten”

… If only because kindergarteners are expected to have achieved a higher degree of bladder control than most Congressional Repubs. From Buzzfeed, “Obama Says Republican Concerns About Trump Mean His Supreme Court Pick Should Get A Vote”:

President Obama told BuzzFeed News Monday that the GOP is “looking at a Republican nominee” — Donald Trump — “who many of them say isn’t qualified to be president much less appoint someone” to the Supreme Court. And that, he said, means his nominee should get a vote, which Republicans have vowed not to do.

Obama’s comments came during a live interview with BuzzFeed News Legal Editor Chris Geidner from the White House’s Roosevelt Room.

“it seems to me [Republicans would] be better off going ahead and giving a hearing and a vote to somebody that they themselves in the past have said is well-qualified, is fair, and to treat the Supreme Court with the seriousness and the sense that it’s beyond politics,” Obama said. “Precisely because this election year has been so crazy, precisely because you have a number of Republicans who have said that they’re concerned about their nominee, it shows you why you don’t want to politicize a Supreme Court appointment.”

The issue, Obama said, is that some members of the GOP “are on record saying this is a very well qualified candidate.”

“In that circumstance it is up to them, in terms of their constitutional obligation, to have a hearing and have a vote,” he said. “Now here’s the good news. Originally they said they wouldn’t even meet with the guy. And they heard from a lot of their constituents that said well, this isn’t kindergarten; just because you’re not happy with what’s happened, you don’t do your job.”

“My hope is that the closer we get to the summer, and the more pressure that viewers are putting on senators just to do their job, and to give the guy a hearing, give him a vote, then more and more Republican senators will recognize that the position they’re taking is not tenable,” he said…

When asked why Obama didn’t nominate someone who is not a straight, white man, he said, “I never think about it in terms of ‘this seat is for a Hispanic man, and this seat is for a gay black woman,’ that’s not how I think.” He added he nominated people who are “extremely well qualified.”

“Judge Garland was the perfect candidate for this moment for this seat,” he said. “You’re looking for a judge who will play it straight and apply the law.”…

Seriously, it’s a good interview with a sterling President. Who shows up at approximately the 4min mark on the clip below, if Geidner’s understandable pre-show anxiety is too much for you:

Friday the 13th “Rhymes with Bucket” Open Thread

A little gift to all the GOP senators now “home for the weekend” with their constituents, already faced with the delicate task of explaining why a megalomaniac reality tv star / real estate developer is the new voice of their party, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Nice one, President Obama!
Apart from no longer giving a rat’s arse, what’s on the agenda for the weekend?

Breaking News: Alabama Chief Justice Moore Suspended (Again…)

Once again the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission (h/t: RawStory) has brought charges against Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. Chief Justice Moore is being charged with violating judicial ethics in regards to same sex marriage by instructing Alabama probate judges to ignore both a Federal Court ruling and the Supreme Court rulings legalizing same sex marriages. He will be suspended with pay until his case is resolved before the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission. Here’s a link to the complaint. Consider this a late night/early morning open thread.

No One Could Have Predicted, Garland Edition


Barack Obama, Jedi Knight.


Open Thread: The Backpfeifengesicht SCOTUS Candidate

Important alert from Ed Kilgore, at NYMag — “Why Right-Wingers Want Sen. Mike Lee on SCOTUS”:

The Republican battle to make Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland go away, and the efforts to pin down GOP presidential candidates on pre-vetted lists of potential Supremes, have all led to increased speculation about the next justice. At present, there’s a major boom among conservatives for Senator Mike Lee of Utah.

Today the Washington Post‘s James Hohmann offers a rundown on all the reasons Lee is enjoying this attention. For one thing, the Utah senator has long been considered Ted Cruz’s best friend in the upper chamber, so if Cruz is elected, it’s a bit of a no-brainer if Lee wants a robe. For another, Lee would probably have an easier time getting confirmed by his colleagues in the clubby Senate than some law professor or circuit-court judge, and might even avoid a Democratic filibuster (assuming Republicans haven’t already killed the SCOTUS filibuster via the “nuclear option”)…

… If nominated next year for the Scalia seat, Lee would be the youngest nominee since Clarence Thomas, who has now been on the Court for nearly a quarter of a century, with many years of extremism probably still ahead of him… For conservatives seeking a permanent grip on the Court and on constitutional law, someone Lee’s age is money.

But the second reason Lee would be significant is only hinted at by Hohmann in the praise lavished on the solon by the Heritage Foundation and longtime right-wing legal thinker Senator Jeff Sessions (the two most likely sources for SCOTUS advice for Donald Trump, as it happens). Lee’s not just any old “constitutional conservative”; he’s a leading exponent of what is called the Lochner school of constitutional theory, named after the early-twentieth-century decision that was the basis for SCOTUS invalidation of New Deal legislation until the threat of court-packing and a strategic flip-flop resolved what had become a major constitutional crisis.

Lee has, on occasion, suggested that child labor laws, Social Security, and Medicare are unconstitutional, because they breach the eternal limits on federal power sketched out by the Founders. Like most Lochnerians, he views the constitution and the courts as designed to keep democratic majorities from stepping on the God-given personal and property rights of individuals and corporations alike. So it’s no surprise he’s been a bitter critic of the deferential view towards Congress expressed by Chief Justice Roberts in the decision that saved Obamacare.

In effect, Mike Lee could become a more influential successor to Clarence Thomas — after overlapping with Thomas on the Court for a decade or two. If Democratic senators have a problem with that possibility, they might want to begin making noises about it so that at least the supposition that Lee is pretty easily confirmable may be called into question.

That Hohmann article is well worth reading, too, if you want all the gory details. Looks like the Repubs are prepared to do a lot worse than Judge Garland…

Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Good News for Judge Garland

Not snark, for once — there seems to be a grinding shift in the Conventional Wisdom (note source of above tweet). Senator Collins’ bold centrism might be connected to a report in The Hill:

Reid plots strategy to force vote on Obama nominee
Senate Democrats say they may try to force a vote on President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court with an unusual procedural tactic.

“There are many procedural things we can do,” Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) said Tuesday when asked about the possibility of using a discharge resolution to bypass Republicans…

He and his Democratic colleagues want to keep the pressure on Republicans to hold hearings on the nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, believing they have the upper hand in the public relations battle.

“The obligation is for them to hold hearings and to have a vote. That’s in the Constitution,” Reid said. “Right now, we think we’re in a good place. The pressure’s on them, not on us.”…

Reid added that Grassley now has a more competitive reelection race. Democrats have recruited former Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge, the toughest opponent he has faced in years.

“No one thought he would have a race,” he added. “This is a real drag on the Republicans.”

Reid noted that more than a dozen Senate Republicans have agreed to meet with Garland, although most have made clear they will do so only as a courtesy.

In addition to Kirk and Collins, at least 15 other Republicans have voiced willingness to meet. They are Sens. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), John Boozman (Ark.), Bill Cassidy (La.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Grassley, Orrin Hatch (Utah), James Inhofe (Okla.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), James Lankford (Okla.), Moran, Murkowski, Rob Portman (Ohio), Mike Rounds (S.D.), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Pat Toomey (Pa.)…

Senator Grassley has responded to this pressure with his usual gracious elan, per Politico:

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee criticized John Roberts on the Senate floor Tuesday, accusing the chief justice of contributing to the growing politicization of the Supreme Court.

In a speech about 10 days before Justice Antonin Scalia died, Roberts warned that the trend of approving qualified Supreme Court nominees along party-line Senate votes undermines the legitimacy of the court. “The process is not functioning very well,” Roberts said.

“In fact, many of my constituents believe, with all due respect, that the chief justice is part of the problem,” Grassley said of Roberts, who has at times incensed conservatives with his votes to uphold Obamacare and other rulings. “They believe that [a] number of his votes have reflected political considerations, not legal ones.”…

The Iowa Republican went on to warn Roberts not to inject himself into the Senate showdown over whether Garland should be confirmed this year, which Republicans have vowed will not happen. Grassley said Roberts has been encouraged by some academics to urge the Senate to take up Garland’s nomination…

Responding to the speech, a spokesman for Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called Grassley “unglued” and said his remarks represent “an epic display of buck-passing.”

Double dog dare ya, Chuck! Also, there’s this note from the Washington Post

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who endorsed Trump after abandoning his own presidential bid, said that he spoke with Trump by phone on Tuesday about a list of 10 to 12 judges from whom the billionaire might fill vacancies on the Supreme Court.

Trump plans to release the names in the coming weeks as a sign of his seriousness and a validation of his claims to being a conservative, Carson said….

Serious as a heart attack, and validating our Democratic claim that the GOP is being held hostage by a vulgar short-fingered carnival barker…

Apart from our healthful daily helping of schadenfreude, what’s on the agenda for the day?