Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
Yesterday, this writer looked at thirteen of the 25 names on Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees should a Justice retire at the end of this term. Today, I look at the top 12.
#12. Patrick Wyrick
Currently on the Oklahoma Supreme Court, Trump has nominated him to be a District Court Judge for Western Oklahoma and that nomination is currently stalled in committee. The main Leftist argument against Wyrick is that he is a protege of former Oklahoma attorney general and now EPA chief, Scott Pruitt. If he is receiving such stiff opposition from the Left for a District Court judgeship, imagine the ruckus raised over a Supreme Court nomination. And at age 37, he will be around for a long, long time.
#11. Britt Grant
At age 40 and a member of the Georgia supreme court, it would be interesting to see how the Left and the feminist movement react against a young, conservative female nominee. They note the lack of decisions in her short tenure on the court, but criticize her as Georgia solicitor general for supporting Alabama in the Shelby County decision. And in 2014 she had the temerity to sign onto a brief arguing for proof of citizenship to vote in federal elections. She also filed briefs against gay marriage (arguing it is a state issue) and in favor of Hobby Lobby.
#10. Margaret Ryan
An intriguing choice considering Trump’s support and love of the military, Ryan serves on the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. Perhaps the only controversy surrounding her tenure was a decision that the court did not have jurisdiction to order the disclosure of documents from the Bradley “Call Me Chelsea” Manning case. Also in her favor, she clerked for Justice Thomas. Having someone from the armed forces may be an advantage in national security cases that may come before SCOTUS.
#9. Keith Blackwell
Another member of the Georgia supreme court, Blackwell fits the bill at age 42. He is a stealthy possibility with his most controversial decision dealing with the “class action” status of a group of indigent non-payers of child support. There is another jurisdictional case which Blackwell dismissed thus clearing the way for a local branch of the KKK to adopt a portion of a highway. This will no doubt be portrayed as Blackwell being sympathetic to the KKK. This one is a minefield.
#8. Raymond Gruender
Gruender sits on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals having been nominated by Bush and confirmed in a 94-1 Senate vote. Three decisions since then will rile up the Left. The first was his anti-contraceptive mandate decision in a case involving railroad workers. Second, he ruled against Planned Parenthood’s proposed injunction against a North Dakota abortion law making him pro-life. And he ruled in a case that Little Rock, Arkansas school districts should not remain under federal monitoring for desegregation, a monitor that went back to 1957. In the eyes of the Left, that makes Gruender a snorting pro-life, anti-black bigot.
#7 Diane Sykes
Appointed to the Seventh Circuit by Bush, she was confirmed by a 70-27 vote. Sure to endure the wrath of David Hogg, one of her decisions ruled that Chicago’s ban on firing ranges violated the Second Amendment. Thus, gun rights may dominate any confirmation hearing with Sykes. However, her age (60) may be a little out of the range being considered by Trump and she may have a greater impact in the Seventh Circuit.
#6 Allison Eid
A former member of the Colorado supreme court, in a 56-41 vote, Trump elevated her to the Tenth Circuit. Like Timothy Tymkovich, whether Trump dips into the 10th Circuit having done so with Gorsuch remains a huge question mark. In her favor, she clerked for Thomas. Some of her decisions on the Colorado supreme court have been all over the map and it appears she sometimes shies away from the more controversial in an attempt to reach a desirable conservative conclusion by addressing the issue on narrowest grounds possible. As a hard-core conservative, that may grate on some, but it would probably endear her to Chief Justice Roberts.
#5 Mike Lee
Probably the most intriguing name on the list is Utah Senator Mike Lee who is often spoken in the same breath with Ted Cruz as a Supreme Court nominee. For years, the Left has been crying for someone from a political office to be on the Court. He has clerked under Alito (a bonus), has political experience and it would be interesting to see fellow Senators on the other side of the aisle twisting and contorting to oppose his nomination (although one can guess Corey Booker would shed some fake tears and attack Lee). And politically, there would be no drawback as he would simply be replaced with a Republican in the Senate.
#4. William Pryor
If Trump wants a huge battle, he better be committed to the fight if he nominates William Pryor. He has already been described by the Washington Post as the “most polarizing choice possible.” To be truthful, he has come under some conservative criticism that can be dismissed best here. Still, he will be criticized over two decisions- Eternal Word Television which sided with an evangelical organization regarding Obamacare’s contraception mandate, and Common Cause vs. Billups which upheld Georgia’s voter ID law. The battle lines are drawn and the Left will come after Pryor with all guns blazing on various fronts. That’s because he is a staunch defender of the Second Amendment!
#3 Amy Coney Barrett
She’s young at age 46 and a graduate of Notre Dame Law School. She clerked for Scalia. During her confirmation hearing yo the 7th Circuit, she held her own after dubious questioning by Diane Feinstein (D-CA) who questioned her Catholic background. This brought a quick rebuke against Feinstein by groups Left and Right. She has questioned the precedence of Roe and Al Franken questioned her about LGBTQ issues during her confirmation hearing. When you simultaneously ruffle the feathers of NARAL, GLAAD and Planned Parenthood, she might just be a good choice. However, having recently been confirmed to the Seventh Circuit, a few years seasoning there may be in Trump’s thought processes.
#2. Thomas Hardiman
After joining the Third Circuit Court of Appeals being nominated by Bush and confirmed in a 95-0 vote, Hardiman was said to be on the very short list that eventually landed Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. On a whole, Hardiman’s decisions in the Third Circuit have been solidly conservative, especially in the area of crime and punishment and gun laws. However, what has some conservatives fretting is Hardiman’s chief backer on the lower court- Maryanne Trump Barry, Trump’s sister and hard core liberal. Having passed on Hardiman once, will he have the stomach to do so again? Will he succumb to “family pressure?” In short, is Hardiman the second coming of David Souter as some conservatives have suggested? Personally, not my choice.
#1. Joan Larsen
She’s female, she’s young at 49 and she hails from the Midwest. She was recently confirmed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals by a 60-38 vote meaning even a decent amount of Democrats voted for her. She clerked for Scalia. While on the Michigan supreme court, she did not delve into or author any really controversial decisions, so she would be a tough nominee prone to make the now-often-recited lines we hear in these confirmation hearings. As with any potential female candidate, it would be interesting to see where the Left and feminists stand. Silly comment- we know she’ll be opposed.
As stated at the start, this is all hypothetical conjecture at this point. It really does not matter who Trump nominates because, well…Trump where the Democrats are concerned. Whoever the nominee, whenever it comes, buckle the seat belts and get ready for a rough ride.