Bench Memos

Where’s Trump’s Judge List

Back in March, presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump said that he would seek to assuage conservative concerns about his potential judicial appointments by releasing a list of potential nominees. As the AP reported,

“I am going to give a list of either five or 10 judges that I will pick, 100 percent pick, that I will put in for nomination. Because some of the people that are against me say: ‘We don’t know if he’s going to pick the right judge. Supposing he picks a liberal judge or supposing he picks a pro-choice judge,’” Trump told a local gathering of Republicans in Palm Beach, Florida Sunday night.

He says the list would include judges “that everybody respects, likes and totally admires” — “great conservative judges, great intellects, the people that you want.”

“I will guarantee that those are going to be the first judges that I put up for nomination if I win. And that should solve that problem,” he said.

According to the report, Trump said he would consult the Heritage Foundation in putting together his list.

Unfortunately, no list has been forthcoming. (Maybe it’s with the donations for veterans groups his people lost.) This should only add to conservative concerns about what sort of judges a President Trump might nominate.

On the plus side, back in February, Trump did identify two federal appellate judges that he said were indicative of the sort of judges he would like to nominate: Judge Bill Pryor of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and Judge Diane Sykes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Either would be a superlative choice for the Supreme Court, but conservatives have good reasons to be skeptical of Trump’s commitment in this regard.  After all, Trump also infamously identified his sister, a quite liberal federal appellate judge, as someone he thought would make a good Court pick.  It’s all the more reason conservatives should want to see that list.

Jonathan H. Adler — Mr. Adler is an NRO contributing editor and the inaugural Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. His latest book is Marijuana Federalism: Uncle Sam and Mary Jane.


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