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. Both lists were assembled by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation. 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.
A second vacancy arose during Trump's term when Justice Anthony Kennedy, usually the swing vote in most 5–4 decisions, announced his retirement effective July 31, 2018; Trump announced Brett Kavanaugh as Kennedy's replacement from the list on July 9. Other vacancies are possible during a first term and should Trump run for and win a second term, most likely during that 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.
- Raymond Kethledge:
- Kethledge has never mentioned textualism or originalism once in 2,358 decisions in which he has participated. When given an opportunity by two conservative judges to join a decision that criticized a lack of originalism, Kethledge refused. Instead many of his decisions, though ostensibly coming to conservative conclusions, used emotionalistic reasoning rather than originalist and textualist reasoning. Many of his supporters overlap with the Never Trump movement, and the mainstream media has pushed for his nomination. Mitch McConnell has also pushed strongly for his nomination because Kethledge is more moderate and would be confirmed easier. The pro-migration and Koch-funded Cato Institute also supported his nomination.
- 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. See Tyler v. Hillsdale Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't, 837 F.3d 678, 702 (6th Cir. 2016) (Boggs, J., concurring).
- Judge Kethledge also ruled 2-1 against Immigration Services to allow an illegal alien, who had illegally overstayed his visa by 10 years, to challenge the denial of a new employment visa application. Patel v. United States Citizenship & Immigration Servs., 732 F.3d 633 (6th Cir. 2013) (Kethledge holding that an illegal alien who had overstayed his prior visa by 10 years nevertheless has legal standing to challenge the denial of a petition for a new employment visa by a new prospective employer). That was too much for even a Clinton-appointed judge, who dissented.
- Kethledge also reversed a deportation order of a criminal alien who had lied about a drug conviction and been convicted of grand theft auto, which Kethledge argued was not an aggravated felony. See Van Don Nguyen v. Holder, 571 F.3d 524 (2009). He has made other pro-migration decisions, and even in cases where he ruled against criminal aliens and other immigrants, he frequently urged the executive branch to grant them amnesty.
- Joan L. Larsen:
- a feminist law professor who declared 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.
- In more than six months as a judge on the Sixth Circuit, participating in 166 decisions, Judge Larsen has written separately to concur or dissent only twice.
- 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).
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), 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.
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.
- 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)
Judge Raymond Kethledge refused to join a concurring opinion by the conservative Judge Danny 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).
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 was nominated to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. As an appellate judge, Gorsuch was 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, has declared that she thinks there is sexism in law.|
|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||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).|
|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.)|
- Alan Rappeport, Charlie Savage. "Donald Trump Releases List of Possible Supreme Court Picks", The New York Times, May 18, 2016. Archived from the original on July 22, 2016.
- "How Trump got to yes on Gorsuch", Politico, 31 January 2017. Retrieved on February 12, 2017.
- Mason, Ian (July 3, 2018). Conservatives Concerned: Judge on Trump’s SCOTUS Shortlist Could Be Next Anthony Kennedy. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
- Mason, Ian (July 7, 2018). Raymond Kethledge’s Conservative Boosters Heavily Overlap with ‘Never Trump’. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
- Mason, Ian (July 7, 2018). Media Push Raymond Kethledge’s Inevitability. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
- Boyle, Matthew (July 7, 2018). Mitch McConnell Pushing Ray Kethledge for Supreme Court to Appeal to Establishment Republicans, Not Conservatives. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
- Kraychik, Robert (July 8, 2018). Koch-Founded Cato Supports Kethledge to Replace Kennedy. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
- Mason, Ian (July 4, 2018). Ann Coulter Slams ‘Open Borders Zealots’ on Trump’s SCOTUS Shortlist, Backs Kavanaugh. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
- Mason, Ian (July 6, 2018). SCOTUS Frontrunner Raymond Kethledge’s Record Reveals Immigration Weakness. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 6, 2018.