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Trump Revises His Supreme Court Picks

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on September 26, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In May, Donald Trump released a list of 11 potential Supreme Court nominees, a group of, as Trump described them, "great conservative judges, great intellects, the people that you want." But it seems that the Republican nominee for president wasn't totally content with just those 11.

On Friday, Trump released a list of 10 more candidates he would consider nominating to the Supreme Court, should he win the presidency in November. "This list is definitive and I will choose only from it in picking future justices of the United States Supreme Court," Trump said in a statement.

Trump's Very Long Supreme Court Shortlist

Trump's original shortlist of potential nominees was notable almost as much for the names it didn't include as those it did. There were none of the high-profile, conservative lawyers who regularly argue before the Supreme Court, or judges from the D.C. Circuit, which is known for sending its best jurists up to the Supreme Court. (The late Justice Scalia spent four years there as did his Supreme Court bestie, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was a D.C. Circuit judge for 13 years.)

But there were plenty of judges from circuit courts in Middle America, and a host of state supreme courts. Trump's new additions to that list largely follow the same pattern.

The 10 new possible nominees are:

  • Judge Neil Gorsuch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit
  • Judge Margaret Ryan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
  • Justice Edward Mansfield of the Iowa Supreme Court
  • Justice Keith Blackwell of the Supreme Court of Georgia
  • Justice Charles Canady of the Supreme Court of Florida
  • Senator Mike Lee, United States Senator from Utah
  • Judge Timothy Tymkovich, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit
  • Judge Amul Thapar of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky
  • Judge Federico Moreno of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
  • Justice Robert Young, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Michigan

The Name That Matters Most?

Only one name in the new cohort of 10 isn't proceeded by Judge or Justice. Senator Mike Lee is the only non-judge that Trump has said he would consider for the Supreme Court. Lee's inclusion comes despite the fact that he has refused to endorse Trump.

Lee was a strong supporter of Senator Ted Cruz during the Republican primaries and, according to Politico, Lee's inclusion was a major reason Cruz decided to endorse the candidate, after months of refusing to do so. "Trump's willingness and decisive action to release a list of conservative jurists, particularly including Mike Lee, with the promise to choose from that list, was a top factor in Cruz's ultimate decision," according to an insider who spoke to Politico.

Lee's inclusion hasn't seemed to sway the Utah senator, though. "Sen. Lee already has the job he wants, which is why he is campaigning to represent the great people of Utah again this year," according to his spokesperson, Conn Carroll. "This new list does not change Sen. Lee's mind about Trump in any way whatsoever."

Will Trump's new SCOTUS names have more success changing the public's mind about the candidate? We'll have to wait and see.

For the latest Supreme Court news, subscribe to FindLaw's U.S. Supreme Court Newsletter.

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