WASHINGTON, DC – President Trump has whittled his Supreme Court list from 25 down to 7 names and will announce a final decision on July 9.
The president has repeatedly said he will choose candidates from his “List.” That list began with 11 names in May 2016 when he was a candidate, and it became a central feature of his presidential campaign. He expanded the list in September 2016 during the general election campaign when he was the Republican nominee, adding 10 names to bring the total to 21.
Justice Neil Gorsuch was on that expanded list. Once in office and after Gorsuch’s successful confirmation, President Trump added five names in November 2017, bringing the total to 25.
President Trump promised to choose only from that list to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia and has again pledged to pull from that list for the vacancy created by Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement.
Most of the attention right now seems to be swirling around three names, all federal appeals judges: Amy Barrett from the Seventh Circuit, Thomas Hardiman from the Third Circuit, and Brett Kavanaugh from the D.C. Circuit. Hardiman was the runner-up for the seat that eventually went to Gorsuch, and both Barrett and Kavanaugh have come under increased scrutiny from critics, often raising points that are dismissed by serious legal analysts.
But that focus could shift at any time from those three, as other choices are also being actively considered.
The president on Friday mentioned several other names he is considering. Sources confirm these include Judges Raymond Kethledge (a former Kennedy clerk) and Amul Thapar, both from the Sixth Circuit. Senior White House sources are also discussing Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Judge Joan Larsen (also from the Sixth Circuit), but they are both considered more of a long shot.
In addition to a philosophy of interpreting the Constitution according to its original public meaning and interpreting laws according to their text, the president is focusing on each candidate’s intellect, record of accomplishment, and ability to withstand pressure and criticism.
It is also still possible another name could be drawn from the list of 25 and added to the short list.
The full list is:
- Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- Keith Blackwell of Georgia, Supreme Court of Georgia
- Charles Canady of Florida, Supreme Court of Florida
- Steven Colloton of Iowa, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
- Allison Eid of Colorado, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
- Britt Grant of Georgia, Supreme Court of Georgia
- Raymond Gruender of Missouri, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
- Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- Brett Kavanaugh of Maryland, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
- Raymond Kethledge of Michigan, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- Joan Larsen of Michigan, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- Mike Lee of Utah, United States senator
- Thomas Lee of Utah, Supreme Court of Utah
- Edward Mansfield of Iowa, Supreme Court of Iowa
- Federico Moreno of Florida, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
- Kevin Newsom of Alabama, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- William Pryor of Alabama, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- Margaret Ryan of Virginia, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
- David Stras of Minnesota, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
- Diane Sykes of Wisconsin, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- Amul Thapar of Kentucky, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- Timothy Tymkovich of Colorado, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
- Robert Young of Michigan, Supreme Court of Michigan (retired)
- Don Willett of Texas, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- Patrick Wyrick of Oklahoma, Supreme Court of Oklahoma
President Trump will announce his nominee on Monday, July 9.
Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.