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September 9, 2020

Lots and lots of government lawyers on Prez Trump's latest SCOTUS (not-so-)short list

As reported via this release from the White House, this afternoon Prez Trump announced the 20 additions to "his Supreme Court List."  There are a number of perhaps predictable names (e.g., Gregory Katsas) and perhaps surprising names (e.g., Daniel Cameron) on the list, but what I noticed was how many were current or former government lawyers.  Though not too many on the list were actually former criminal prosecutors, all but a few worked for departments of justice and/or in attorney general offices.  I do not believe any of the persons on the list ever served in a public criminal defense role (although some may have provided private or pro bono defense while with a law firm).

This lengthy Politico article discusses the and some of the politics surrounding it.  Here are a few excerpts:

President Donald Trump on Wednesday added 20 names to his existing list of 25 potential picks to fill a future Supreme Court vacancy, including Republican Sens. Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley. By doing so, Trump reprised a strategy that many credit with bringing skeptical social conservatives into the fold in 2016 and paving the way for his upset victory over Hillary Clinton.

Calling the appointment of Supreme Court justices “the most important decision a president can make,” the president cast the decision to release his potential picks up front as an obligation White House hopefuls have to their voters, though he was the first candidate to do so, in 2016....

Trump’s decision to nearly double his existing pool of choices could upset those who favored slashing the original list by as much as half, arguing for a more stringent vetting process, as well as the removal of those with limited records from which to judge the consistency of their judicial philosophy. Those in favor of expanding the list argued that Gorsuch departed from such consistency in his ruling this summer. “The whole purpose of the list is to give hard-line conservatives a guarantee that we will not be betrayed again,” one Republican close to the White House told POLITICO in July....

The president’s campaign blasted out appreciative messages from members of Trump’s gun owners and Catholics advisory boards, as well as the campaign’s legal advisers. Democrats and progressive groups, meanwhile, held up Trump’s new list as their own measure of the stakes in the coming election....

Yet, many Republicans noted — and some left-leaning activists lamented — that the issue of the high court and judicial nominees generally was essentially ignored at the Democratic National Convention last month.

Thus far, Biden has declined to follow in Trump’s footsteps and release his own list of potential Supreme Court nominees. He has promised to appoint a Black woman to the court and has said his campaign is compiling a shortlist of such picks “who are qualified and have the experience to be on the court,” but would not release their names “until we go further down the line in vetting them.”

Trump slammed that decision on Wednesday, calling on Biden to release a list of potential Supreme Court picks and musing that Biden’s refusal to do so was “perhaps because he knows the names are so extremely far left that they could never withstand public scrutiny or receive acceptance.” Biden, Trump said, “must release a list of justices for people to properly make a decision as to how they will vote.”

As detailed in post linked below, I have been suggesting for quite some time that Joe Biden should be able to produce a SCOTUS list which could excite progressives and highlight that there diversity of impressive legal talent in our nation which includes persons who have worked on behalf of criminal defendants. 

Prior related post:

September 9, 2020 at 09:49 PM | Permalink

Comments

Lordy, that is a hideously unqualified list for the Supreme Court, except ideologically.

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Sep 10, 2020 6:47:21 PM

I think it is important to distinguish between trial prosecutors and the politicals at the top of the office. On the list, I saw two who appeared to have served as line attorneys in U.S. Attorney's Offices and none who had served as a line attorney in a state prosecutor's office.

The simple reality is that a tour of duty as a political appointee in an administration is one of the ways to become known to those with input on judicial appointments. Serving as a career line state prosecutor in Toledo, Ohio, or Greensboro, North Carolina is not likely to get you on the federal bench much less considered for one of the appellate slots even if you are the most brilliant attorney in that office.

Posted by: tmm | Sep 11, 2020 5:51:09 PM

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