Donald Trump releases list of 11 potential US Supreme Court nominees

His roster includes judges who have ruled against abortions, birth control and who have restricted voters' rights

Rachael Revesz
New York
Wednesday 18 May 2016 19:09
Mr Trump's list contains ultra-conservative nominees
Mr Trump's list contains ultra-conservative nominees

Donald Trump has released a list of 11 potential nominees to the US supreme court to fill the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

His roster of six federal circuit judges and five state supreme court judges includes individuals who have acted to restrict abortions, the availability of birth control and who have upheld strict voter ID laws.

In a statement the presumptive Republican party nominee said the 11 people are "representative of the kind of constitutional principles I value".

The presidential candidate’s recommendations would only come into play if he is elected president on 8 November and if the senate backs his choices.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that it was unlikely any of those on the list would be seen as "consensus nominees" and receive Democrat backing.

Mr Trump has picked Steven Colloton of Iowa, Allison Eid of Colorado and Raymond Gruender of Missouri, as reported by the Associated Press.

Also on the list are: Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania, Raymond Kethledge of Michigan, Joan Larsen of Michigan, Thomas Lee of Utah, William Pryor of Alabama, David Stras of Minnesota, Diane Sykes of Wisconsin and Don Willett of Texas.

Think Progress reported that Judge William Pryor labelled Roe V Wade, a landmark lawsuit which guaranteed women the right to an abortion, as one of the "worst examples of judicial activism".

Judge Diane Sykes has argued that anti-gay groups should still receive federal funding even if they engage in discrimination, and she has upheld strong voter ID laws and has tried to limit the accessibility of birth control.

Ms Sykes is the ex-wife of Charles Sykes, a radio host in Wisconsin who helped to lead the anti-Trump rally ahead of the state primary. Mr Sykes told Mr Trump he was "acting like a 12-year-old boy on the playground".

Last December, Mr Trump said his favourite member of the supreme court was Justice Clarence Thomas, suggesting his nominees could be ultra-conservative.

Mr Thomas has reportedly embraced an interpretation of the US constitution which led past justices to strike down child labour laws.

Absent from the list are his former rival, Texas senator Ted Cruz, and Utah governor Mike Lee, two names Mr Trump hinted at before.

Thomas Lee, the Utah governor's brother, does feature on the list, however.

Mr Trump said in March he would release the list to ease concerns from fellow Republicans about his conservative credentials.

Not everyone on the short list is an advocate of Mr Trump. Texas supreme court judge Don Willett posted several disparaging tweets about the Republican, second-guessing how he would make up his list.

President Barack Obama selected the current supreme court nominee, Merrick Garland, who has served on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Colombia Circuit since 1997.

Many Republicans have claimed the US is better off waiting until the new president is elected before deciding on the nominee.

In an interview with Buzzfeed, president Obama said: "Now what we have is a situation where having made that promise, Republicans are looking at a Republican nominee who many of them say isn’t qualified to be president, much less appoint somebody. And it seems to me they'd be better off going ahead and giving an hearing and a vote to someone who they themselves have said is well qualified.”

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