Washington D.C., Sep 9, 2020 / 16:03 pm
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced more names of candidates he would nominate to the Supreme Court, despite no current vacancy at the court.
In addition to the existing White House list of two dozen potential Supreme Court nominees, Trump added 20 more names Sept. 9, including three sitting U.S. senators.
Among the names on the new list are Stewart Kyle Duncan of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals—the former general counsel for the religious freedom firm Becket—and Peter Phipps of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, whose membership in the Knights of Columbus was the subject of tough questions by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) when he was a district court nominee in 2018.
Amy Coney Barrett of the Seventh Circuit court, a former professor at the University of Notre Dame and a Catholic mother of seven, was on the existing White House list of nominees.
Pro-life leaders hailed Wednesday’s announcement by Trump. Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, said the appointment of pro-life judges to federal courts was “one of President Trump’s greatest accomplishments” of his first term, and that “[w]e anticipate that process will continue in a second term.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List and co-chair of the Trump campaign’s pro-life outreach said that his list “is filled with all-stars.”
Wednesday’s announcement comes eight weeks before the general election, and it is not the first time Trump has advertised potential Supreme Court nominees during an election year.
After he was declared the presumptive GOP presidential nominee in May 2016, Trump released an initial list of 11 potential Supreme Court nominees. Justice Antonin Scalia had died in January, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had refused to confirm President Obama’s nominee for the Court, Merrick Garland, saying that the Senate would wait until after the presidential election to fill Scalia’s seat.
Trump added to that list in September 2016, and again in 2017, expanding the list to two dozen names before his announcement on Wednesday.
At a presidential debate in October 2016, Trump pledged to appoint justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. In 2017, he nominated Neil Gorsuch to be Scalia’s replacement, and in 2018 he nominated Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was retiring. Neither were on Trump’s May 2016 list, although Gorsuch was named as a potential nominee in September 2016.