Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Trump’s List

Just back in the office, I see that Orin Kerr has already explained why Trump’s list of his potential Supreme Court candidates—a list that Trump says is “representative of the kind of constitutional principles I value” and is something he would “use … as a guide”—means little or nothing.

Yes, there are some very good names on the list (as well as some very good names conspicuously missing from it). So the list shows that Trump knew where to go to get advice pleasing to conservatives. But given Trump’s character, I don’t think that offers any assurance about who would be advising him if he were elected, nor do I think that his issuance of this list would significantly constrain him down the road if he decided to go in a very different direction.

Don’t get me wrong: The possibility, whatever weight you assign it, that Trump would make good Supreme Court selections is perhaps the best reason for conservatives to hold their noses and vote for Trump. (Whether it’s a compelling, or even a sufficient, reason to do so is another question.)

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