by Dr. Eowyn
“Outside of war and peace, of course, the most important decision you make is the selection of a Supreme Court judge, if you get it,” President Trump said last summer.
January 9 was the third consecutive day of work that Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 85, missed after her December 21 surgery to remove two cancerous nodules from her left lung. She had never missed an oral argument in her 25 years on the bench.
News of her surgery had sent the Left apoplectic, with many, like has-been actress Alyssa Milano, offering to donate their lungs and other organs to Ginsburg.
See also “Supreme Court justice Ginsburg rushed to hospital; Demonrats offer to donate their ribs,” Nov. 8, 2018.
Eliana Johnson and Gabb Orr report for Politico, Dec. 10, 2019, that the Trump White House is reaching out to political allies and conservative activist groups, such as the Judicial Crisis Network and Federalist Society executive vice president Leonard Leo, to prepare for Ginsburg’s possible death or departure from the Supreme Court — an event that would send the Left into a meltdown, as well as trigger another vicious confirmation battle after Brett Kavanaugh’s last October.
A source “familiar with those conservations,” said that the White House “is taking the temperature on possible short-list candidates, reaching out to key stakeholders, and just making sure that people are informed on the process. They’re doing it very quietly, of course, because the idea is not to be opportunistic, but just to be prepared so we aren’t caught flat-footed.”
Ginsburg’s departure from the Court would allow President Trump to nominate a third Supreme Court justice — the most in one presidential term since President Ronald Reagan placed three judges on the highest court during his second term — and enable Trump to create the Court’s strongest conservative majority in decades. The nine-member court is currently divided 5-4 between its conservative and liberal wings.
John Malcolm, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, predicts: “It would be a brutal confirmation. The first two were not easy at all, but this would be much harder in this respect: When Neil Gorsuch was the nominee, you were replacing a conservative with a conservative. With Kavanaugh, you were replacing the perennial swing voter, who more times than not sided with the so-called conservative wing, so that slightly solidified the conservative wing. But if you are replacing Justice Ginsburg with a Trump appointee, that would be akin to replacing Thurgood Marshall with Clarence Thomas. It would mark a large shift in the direction of the court.”
The White House counsel’s office and senior aides on the Senate Judiciary Committee, now chaired by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), have begun drafting a shortlist of potential court nominees. It features judges President Trump has considered for previous vacancies along with some new names, many of whom are women, sources say. The list includes:
- Seventh Circuit judge Amy Coney Barrett, who was a leading contender for the last Supreme Court vacancy, created by Justice Anthony Kennedy.
- Sixth Circuit judges Joan Larsen, Amul Thapar, and Raymond Kethledge.
- Eleventh Circuit judge Britt Grant.
- Third Circuit judge Thomas Hardiman.
- Neomi Rao, Trump’s current nominee for Kavanaugh’s old seat on the D.C. Circuit Court.