Trump Supreme Court

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During his 2016 campaign for President, Donald Trump released two lists of candidates for a vacancy on the Supreme Court and pledged to appoint Justices from those lists.[1] Both lists were assembled by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation.[2] The Trump Supreme Court depends on a good analysis of candidates in order to avoid making a mistake. Donald Trump wants to appoint judges like Antonin Scalia, and has said so publicly. But some of the judges on the lists fall far short of that standard, and could even become future liberals if appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The liberal media are heavily promoting the more liberal candidates on Trump's list, to try to steer Trump away from picking a conservative. Trump made good on his promise to nominate from the list and selected Neil Gorsuch to fill Antonin Scalia's seat. It is likely that at least one more vacancy will arise during Trump's term.

Perhaps only three candidates on the entire list of 21 are reliably pro-life: Florida Supreme Court Justice Charles Canady, federal appellate Judge Raymond Gruender, and U.S. Senator Mike Lee.

Only four out of 21 candidates on the list are women, none of whom are reliably pro-life. Trump should go beyond the list to pick a pro-life woman, such as Judges Jennifer Elrod or Edith Jones from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.


Six of the 21 candidates on Trump's list are being pushed by the media because they are not pro-life. Here's the list of the six candidates that conservatives need to speak out against and veto:

NOT pro-life

  • Diane Sykes:
ruled against a pro-life Indiana law, and required taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood; as a state court judge Sykes sentenced two veteran abortion protesters to 60 days in jail (see table below).
  • Steven Colloton:
wrote or joined multiple pro-abortion opinions: one to eviscerate a pro-life South Dakota law, another to side with a fellow pro-abort judge against a pro-life Nebraska law, and a third to side with a pro-abort judge to come down hard on a pro-life internet activist (see detailed explanation below).
  • Joan L. Larsen:
a feminist law professor who declared recently that there is sexism in law; she has repeatedly mentioned Roe v. Wade without criticizing it; she clerked for Justice Scalia but many of his clerks were not pro-life; she has no federal judgeship experience and is similar to David Souter in her weakness in writing ability, which makes her susceptible to influence by the liberal media.

Probably would NOT be pro-life on the Supreme Court

  • Neil Gorsuch:
wrote about abortion using the terminology of the pro-abortion side, without ever referring to the "unborn child"; he has avoided mentioning abortion as a judge but has favorably cited the Blackmun decision that gave abortionists legal standing to challenge pro-life laws; and while religious beliefs are not a test for public office, Gorsuch's Episcopalian church has declared its "unequivocal opposition" to pro-life laws and he has said nothing publicly pro-life. In addition, Gorsuch was one of the first to hold that there is a federal right for a man to claim special protections for thinking that his "gender identity" is that of a woman.
  • Raymond Kethledge:
joined a decision that favorably cited a precedent censoring a pro-life advertisement, and held against allowing a Christian advertisement too. In addition, Kethledge refused to join a concurrence by conservative Judge Boggs that would have established the greatest protection of "strict scrutiny" for infringements on the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
  • Allison Eid:
unusually silent on abortion; she tersely dissented from a denial of cert. before the Colorado Sup. Ct. in a challenge to an injunction against abortion protesters, initially on only the limited grounds of the length of the injunction and then later only on free speech grounds.
Judge Steven Colloton is not pro-life

Judge Colloton is not pro-life, and has ruled three times against the pro-life position. He has written that abortionists are professionals who should be able to tell their victims (mothers) whether they like in their "professional judgment" in order to perform an abortion on them,[3] which is the same pro-abort mindset of Justice Harry Blackmun in Roe v. Wade.[4]

Judge Colloton has apparently never even said anything publicly that is pro-life. He attended a law school that is overwhelmingly pro-abortion, the same law school that candidate Justice Charles Canady attended, but unlike Justice Canady, Judge Colloton has not spoken out against abortion. In addition, Judge Colloton has affirmatively written or voted in favor of abortionists or against pro-lifers on at least three separate occasions, as follows.

In a long-running case from South Dakota, Judge Colloton refused to join Judge Gruender's decision in favor of a pro-life South Dakota law. Planned Parenthood Minn. v. Rounds, 686 F.3d 889 (8th Cir. 2012) (en banc).[5] Instead, Colloton wrote a concurrence that essentially gutted the value of the pro-life South Dakota law in two ways, while purportedly concurring with the outcome.

The South Dakota law required abortionists to disclose to patients that there is a higher rate of suicide by women who had abortions than those who do not. This is an indisputable fact that should be disclosed.

Judge Colloton, however, insisted that abortionists should only need to disclose the connection between abortion and suicide that is reported in peer-reviewed medical journals, which of course are controlled by pro-aborts. So that ends up being nothing to disclose. Such a limitation completely destroys the benefit of the law.

But that evisceration of the law was not even enough for Judge Colloton. He further said that an abortionist can supplement his disclosure with any opinion that the abortionist wants to provide about the issue in his "professional judgment." Of course, that's the same trick that the abortion industry has been using for decades, to have unlimited authority to tell and do to pregnant women whatever abortionists want. Colloton's view would have completely eliminated the benefit of the law, if he had prevailed. In addition, Colloton's insistence on requiring that the State defer to the abortionist, rather than protect the unborn child and mother against the abortionist, reflects his pro-Roe v. Wade mindset. Colloton's reference to an abortionist as a "professional" speaks volumes about his pro-abortion viewpoint.

In another abortion case before Judge Colloton, he joined a decision in favor of Planned Parenthood and against a pro-life Nebraska law. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland v. Heineman, 664 F.3d 716 (8th Cir. 2011).[6]

In a third abortion-related cased, Judge Colloton came down hard upon a pro-life internet activist by joining a decision by a liberal colleague to rule against him and allow a contempt order against the pro-lifer to remain in effect. Coca-Cola Co. v. Purdy, 382 F.3d 774 (8th Cir. 2004).[7]

In sum, Colloton has not indicated any public support for the pro-life side, but has repeatedly written in favor of the abortion side. He is virtually certain to vote to uphold Roe v. Wade, in violation of Trump's pledge.

Judge Bill Pryor

Judge Pryor cited favorably a pro-abortion decision that is used in many pro-abortion rulings:

  • Cf. Singleton v. Wulff, 428 U.S. 106, 114, 96 S. Ct. 2868, 2874, 49 L. Ed. 2d 826 (1976) (holding that doctors in abortion clinics had standing to challenge a city ordinance that impinged on a woman's right to an abortion) - quoted favorably by Judge Bill Pryor in Camp Legal Def. Fund, Inc. v. City of Atlanta, 451 F.3d 1257, 1272 (11th Cir. 2006).

Judge Bill Pryor has also repeatedly ruled or acted against Christians:

  • in Carver Middle School Gay-Straight Alliance and H.F. v. School Board of Lake County, No. 15-14183, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 21702 (11th Cir. Dec. 6, 2016),[8] Judge Pryor wrote a decision to require a public middle school (grades 6 though 8) to allow a pro-homosexual club over the objections of the local superintendent. Judge Pryor's ruling thereby extended to middle schools a federal law used by the homosexual agenda against high schools.
  • in Keeton v. Anderson-Wiley, 664 F.3d 865 (11th Cir. 2011) (Pryor, J., concurring), joined a decision against a student counselor who was being compelled by a state school to enroll in remediation after her Christian faith led her to question several assertions in the homosexual agenda.
  • was the prosecutor in asserting judicial supremacy against Justice Roy Moore in pursuing the liberal agenda to remove him from the Alabama Supreme Court for displaying the Ten Commandments. Specifically, in 2003 Pryor demanded the removal of Justice Moore from the Alabama Supreme Court for defying a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state Judicial Building. Pryor himself prosecuted Moore for allegedly violating the Canons of Judicial Ethics by keeping the Ten Commandments on display.


Issues under the Establishment Clause or Free Exercise Clause are sometimes correlated with a judge's views on abortion. It is rare, for example, for a judge rule against a Christian display or expression, but then rule in favor of a pro-life position.

Marine court-martialed for Bible verse

  • Margaret Ryan wrote the decision that court-martialed a Marine for displaying a Bible verse.[9]

Judge Pryor has repeatedly ruled against the Christian position

Judge Pryor extended the federal Equal Access Act, which is used by the homosexual agenda, to apply to middle schools containing grades six through eight. (See above) He also persecuted Justice Roy Moore and ruled against a Christian counselor at a state college.

Pro-Religion decisions

  • Busch v. Marple Newtown Sch. Dist., 567 F.3d 89 (3d Cir. 2009) (Hardiman, J., dissenting to object to the censorship by an elementary public school of reading from the Bible as part of a "show and tell" activity)
  • Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius, 723 F.3d 1114 (10th Cir. 2013) (Tymkovich, J.) (an en banc decision in favor of Hobby Lobby)

Second Amendment

Support for the Second Amendment is greater than support for pro-life, but the issues are highly correlated as both concern the inherent right of self-defense.

Anti-Second Amendment

Judge Kethledge refused to join a concurrence that supported the Second Amendment by establishing a "strict scrutiny" level of review for laws that infringe on it.

Pro-Second Amendment

Judge Hardiman has written two pro-Second Amendment dissents on the Third Circuit

  • Drake v. Filko, 724 F.3d 426 (3d Cir. 2013) (Hardiman, J., dissenting)
  • Binderup v. AG of United States, 836 F.3d 336 (3d Cir. 2016) (has interpreted D.C. v. Heller to hold that any law barring persons with Second Amendment rights from possessing lawful firearms in the home even for self-defense is per se unconstitutional, such that no scrutiny is applicable)

The full list of candidates

candidate current position age confirmation vote comments
Keith Blackwell Georgia supreme court 41 Probably too young at this time to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court
Charles T. Canady Florida supreme court 62 Former congressman who coined the expression "partial-birth abortion," in sponsoring the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act; twice properly rejected an unjustified attempt by a minor to have an abortion without first notifying her parents as required by Florida law
Steven Colloton US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit 53 Ruled twice in favor of the pro-abortion side (see above)
Allison Eid Colorado Supreme Court 51 former clerk for Clarence Thomas
Neil Gorsuch US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit 49 Judge Gorsuch is a big supporter granting special rights to men who say they have a female general identity. He mandated civil rights for "gender identity" in 2009 by adopting a Ninth Circuit opinion by the liberal Judge Reinhardt, which held the federal law called "Title VII" protects discrimination against gender identity. Kastl v. Maricopa County Cmty. College Dist., 325 Fed. Appx. 492 (9th Cir. 2009). At the time virtually every other circuit rejected this liberal view. More recently Judge Gorsuch expressed his support for referring to biological men as women.
Raymond Gruender US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit 53
Thomas Hardiman US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit 51 Two of Judge Hardiman's decisions have been reconsidered by the U.S. Supreme Court and both were affirmed. In a third case, Barkes v. First Correctional Medical, 766 F.3d 307 (3d Cir. 2014), Hardiman dissented and subsequently the Supreme Court unanimously agreed with Judge Hardiman's dissent, and reversed the decision in Taylor v. Barkes, 135 S. Ct. 2042 (2015).
Raymond Kethledge US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit 50 (in Dec.) Refused to join a concurring opinion by conservative Judge Boggs that sought to strengthen the Second Amendment by establishing a "strict scrutiny" standard of review for laws that infringe on it. Tyler v. Hillsdale Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't, 837 F.3d 678, 702 (6th Cir. 2016) (Boggs, J., concurring).
Joan Larsen Michigan Supreme Court 47 Faculty member at a liberal law school, the University of Michigan,[10] has declared that she thinks there is sexism in law.[11]
Sen. Mike Lee Senator R-Utah
Thomas Lee Utah Supreme Court
Edward Mansfield Iowa Supreme Court 60 Wrote a controversial decision in favor of a right to fire a woman for being sexually attracted to her
Federico Moreno Southern District of Florida Unlikely pick from the position of a trial rather than appellate court judge
William Pryor US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit 54 53-45, with Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski abstaining prosecuted Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore for an alleged ethics violation due to having the Ten Commandments on display; required a middle school (grades 6 through 8) to have a homosexual club based on extending the federal Equal Access Act against it.
Margaret Ryan US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces 52 She wrote the recent decision that court-martialed a Marine for having a Bible verse displayed on her desk, which suggests a hostility or insensitivity by Ryan to religious beliefs
David Stras Minnesota Supreme Court 42 Probably too young at this time to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, he is a former clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas
Diane Sykes US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit 59 (in Dec.) 70-27[12] ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood in blocking an Indiana law that attempted to cut off funding to it under the Medicaid law. Planned Parenthood of Ind., Inc. v. Comm'r of the Ind. State Dep't of Health, 699 F.3d 962 (7th Cir. 2012).[13]
Amul Thapar Eastern District of Kentucky Unlikely pick from the position of a trial rather than appellate court judge
Timothy Tymkovich US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit 60 Held in favor of religious liberty in Hobby Lobby decision
Don Willett Texas Supreme Court 50 Outspokenly anti-Trump at one point
Robert Young Michigan Supreme Court 66 (in Jan.)

See also