As Donald Trump is sworn in as President of the United States, he will face many challenges. One of his biggest roles is filling the vacant seat on the Supreme Court, which was formerly held by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Trump has the opportunity to reshape the country’s judiciary system. Although he has vowed to fill the position quickly, he still has not made a solid decision, but he has assembled a list of finalists. Many Washington insiders feel that he will rely on his gut instincts when making his decision. Trump can be very unpredictable, but he is sure to choose someone with great conservative views.
Here are five of the strongest candidates.
Trump’s team would like to find a strong conservative woman to fill the seat. It is essential to identify a candidate that is difficult for Senate democrats to oppose as well. Although Diane Sykes is the ex-wife of political radio host Charlie Sykes, a famous Trump critic, she is a strong female with great qualifications. She sits on the Chicago-based 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Her experience extends to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Thanks to her entertaining interview with Justice Clarence Thomas, Sykes is appealing to many conservatives. This meeting managed to highlight Thomas’ constitutional principles and gave a view into his lighter side. One of her most outspoken opinions came in 2013 when she sided with corporations in a challenge to a contraception mandate on the Affordable Care Act. Also, she has stood strong for the Second Amendment. In the case of Enzell v. City of Chicago, she explained gun ranges are protected and granted an injunction against a ban on them in Chicago city limits.
Judge William Pryor is part of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. He also served as Alabama’s attorney general until 2004. His predecessor, Senator Jeff Sessions, is Trump’s U.S. Attorney General selection. Both men are originally from Mobile and have worked closely together.
Republicans are very attracted to Pryor for his views on abortion. He frequently condemns the decision of Roe v. Wade and affirms his opinion that abortion is murder. He supports the rights of every unborn child. Also he has expressed dismay by the outcome of the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey. No matter his personal feelings, he is known for his love of law and the way he frowns on “activist judges” who are overly influenced by politics.
Joan Larsen is the youngest potential nominees on Trump’s list. Since she is only 48 years old, she is very attractive to conservative republicans. They revel in the opportunity to install a justice who may potentially serve for three decades on the bench. Although she has the least amount of judicial experience, she has studied with the best. She worked for the Justice Department and served as a law clerk for the deceased Scalia. Under him, she learned the importance for judges to stay true to the words of the Constitution, which is attractive to the right wing.
In 2004, Raymond Gruender was confirmed to serve the 8th Circuit by a 97 to 1 vote. On the appeals court, he upheld South Dakota’s abortion informed consent law. He explained that the State could make physicians tell patients that the risks of suicide increased in women seeking abortions. Liberals dismiss this opinion as hostile toward women’s rights.
Gruender’s life history may compel Trump as well. This candidate comes from a poor family. In a domestic matter, his father shot him and his sister and later committed suicide. Gruender managed to make a success of himself in the field of law and could be the perfect Scalia replacement.
Thomas Hardiman serves on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. His background is an inspiration to many. This one time cab driver was the first in his family to attend college and pursue a law degree. Trump and other republicans may find him to be an excellent replacement for Judge Scalia. Their viewpoints are very similar, especially on the topic of gun control issues. Hardiman cited Scalia’s opinion of DC v. Heller in his judicial paper. This case upheld a Jersey law that mandated permits to carry guns.
Who Will Trump Nominate?
As Donald Trump is trying to mold the highest court of the land with a conservative edge, he has narrowed his list of possible Supreme Court judges. This will be one of his first executive actions, and it may define his entire presidency. As the dust settles on his inauguration, it will be interesting to see the way that he leans. Even though it will not shift the existing balance of power, it will ensure that it remains in place for decades into the future.