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Who Should Trump Nominate to the Supreme Court?

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on January 20, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Earlier this afternoon, Donald Trump became President Donald Trump. That means many things, but most importantly to this blog, it means that a new Supreme Court justice is on his or her way in the near future. The list of potential nominees, once at 21, has reportedly now been whittled down to about half that, with a few frontrunners.

We have our favorites. But we'd like to hear yours. Let us know below who you think President Trump should nominate for the Supreme Court.

Who Is Trump Considering?

Trump announced earlier this month that he plans to announce his Supreme Court nomination early next month -- two weeks from confirmation is the goal. Insiders suggest Diane Sykes, of the Seventh Circuit, and William Pryor, of the Eleventh Circuit, are the frontrunners.

But there are still many names in the mix. You can see a more detailed review of the front runners here, and brief backgrounds on all named potential nominees here and here. SCOTUSblog also has some great write ups here. And below is quick list of the names that (reportedly) remain under consideration.

1. Diane Sykes, Seventh Circuit: Sykes has been a consistent conservative on issues such as the Second Amendment, gay rights, access to contraception, and voter ID laws. She's described herself as an "originalist-textualist," in the Scalia tradition, and was reportedly under consideration for the Supreme Court during the George W. Bush administration.

2. William Pryor, Eleventh Circuit: Pryor's nomination could be difficult considering his past condemnation of both Roe v. Wade and Miranda v. Arizona, statements that troubled his nomination to the Eleventh Circuit as well. Since joining that bench, Pryor has been a reliable conservative vote, with a few divergences from the party line here and there.

3. Joan Larsen, Michigan Supreme Court: Larsen is young, conservative, and from the Heartland -- all factors that work in her favor. If Larsen made it to the Court she would become the only current justice to have served on a state supreme court -- but she's been dropped from some lists of likely nominees.

4. Thomas Hardiman, Third Circuit: Hardiman could make a strong "law and order" nominee: he's ruled that strip-searching all detainees doesn't violate the Fourth Amendment (the Supreme Court agreed, narrowly), found no clear First Amendment right to film police officers at traffic stops, and dissented from an opinion upholding restrictions on public carry firearm licenses.

5. Raymond Kethledge, Sixth Circuit: A former law clerk for Justice Kennedy, Kethledge won praise for his aggressive stance towards the IRS when overseeing a lawsuit alleging that the Service had targeted Tea Party organizations for extra scrutiny.

6. Thomas Lee, Utah Supreme Court: Another judge from a state supreme court, Lee is a strong originalist who is not against breaking with Supreme Court precedent. If he makes it to the Court, he'd be the first Mormon justice.

7. Allison Eid, Colorado Supreme Court: A former clerk for Justice Thomas, Eid has written in favor of school vouchers, for increased limits on eminent domain, and voted, as part of a unanimous decision, against Colorado University's ban on guns on campus.

8. Steven Colloton, Eighth Circuit: Colloton's jurisprudence seems to be consistently within the conservative norms. He stands out, however, for his strong support for capital punishment, almost always ruling against inmates.

9. Raymond Gruender, Eighth Circuit: Gruender is a three-time grad of Washington University in St. Louis (B.A., M.B.A., and J.D.) and his nomination could bring some needed diversity to the Court -- in terms of academic background, at least. Coupled with conservative credentials and a compelling back story that involves being shot by his father, Gruender could be an enticing pick.

10. Neil Gorsuch, Tenth Circuit: Another relative youngster, Gorsuch is perhaps the most Scalia-like of Trump's potential nominees -- all the way down to his skepticism of the Dormant Commerce Clause. His writing, too, shares a bit of Scalia's characteristic zip.

11. Don Willett, Tweeter Laureate of Texas: Alright, Willett is a bit of a Twitter celebrity. But he's also a judge. And during his time on the Texas Supreme Court, he's developed a reputation as a conservative jurist who takes an aggressive stance towards reviewing government regulations.

Who Should He Pick?

So, who do you think Trump should pick? Let us know below and feel free to share your thoughts in more detail via Twitter (@FindLawLP) or Facebook (FindLaw for Legal Professionals).

Who Should Be Trump's Supreme Court Nominee?
Diane Sykes
William Pryor
Joan Larsen
Thomas Hardiman
Raymond Kethledge
Thomas Lee
Allison Eid
Steven Colloton
Raymond Gruender
Neil Gorsuch
Don Willett
None of the above

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