Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump took a big step toward rallying GOP conservatives around his candidacy with his list of potential Supreme Court picks, Breitbart News Legal Editor Ken Klukowski told Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon on Breitbart News Daily on Sirius XM Patriot 125.
The Supreme Court became a front-burner issue in the 2016 election with the untimely passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, a legendary hero to constitutional conservatives and a towering intellect on the nation’s highest court.
Trump released his much-anticipated list of potential picks to succeed Justice Scalia, naming eleven individuals as his starting point to fill Scalia’s seat, and Bannon went through Klukowski’s written analysis of Trump’s list.
Responding favorably to the names put forward by Trump, Klukowski began, “This list includes some incredible conservatives, from Diane Sykes on the federal Seventh Circuit, to Tom Lee on the Utah Supreme Court, to David Straus on the Minnesota Supreme Court, to Don Willet on the Texas Supreme Court.”
The list included three former law clerks of Justice Clarence Thomas, the most conservative justice currently serving on the Supreme Court.
Trump later told the public that he was going to add names to the list, which led some optimistic conservative legal experts to hope that he would add names such as Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Mike Lee, or former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement.
This later statement from Trump also led some of his conservative critics to speculate that the presumptive Republican nominee would be adding names that conservatives would oppose, or that if elected to the White House he would ignore his own list, noting that his statement releasing the list said the list was a “guide” to picking a justice, and that he later added he would pick either from that list or other people very similar to those on the list.
But Klukowski regarded Trump’s list as a very positive development that would help unify the Republican Party behind the businessman, telling Bannon:
The Supreme Court has always been extremely important, on issues that belong in court such as the Second Amendment, Obamacare, and immigration. But conservatives have always understood that once the Supreme Court started in 1965 hijacking political issues that are not in the Constitution, such as abortion and marriage—overriding the will of the voters through judicial activism—that now if you have a liberal Supreme Court, the Court can shut down democracy anytime it wants by declaring something to be a constitutional issue … and so no issue is more important than a president’s nominations for the High Court.