Hoping to reassure
For a presidential candidate to release such a list before the election – or, in Trump's case, even before formally winning the nomination – is highly unusual.
The move comes as Trump is seeking to unify Republicans. Presenting a list of judges well known on the right could help him with a significant constituency: social conservatives who have been skeptical of his past support for liberal stands on issues such as abortion.
But as with many other moves by Trump, the announcement raised questions – not least of which was how committed the New York businessman was to the list or even how familiar he is with those on it.
Several of the names have appeared on published lists by conservative groups such as the Heritage Foundation, and at least one, Texas Supreme Court Justice Don R. Willett, has publicly mocked Trump in Twitter messages in recent weeks.
Most of the judges on Trump's list come from the South and Midwest. Conspicuously absent are any currently working on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which is the conventional breeding ground for high court nominees. That seems to fit in well with Trump's narrative as a Washington outsider.
Five are Republican appointees to state supreme courts: Willett, Allison Eid of Colorado, Joan Larsen of Michigan,
The six others are
Larsen was once a clerk for the late Justice
Missing from the list are prominent conservatives from Washington, D.C., including Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a Bush appointee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and former U.S. Solicitor Gen. Paul Clement, both of whom have been seen as strong candidates for the high court in the next Republican administration.
Trump's list won plaudits from conservative activists as well as Sen.
"Mr. Trump has laid out an impressive list of highly qualified jurists," Grassley said, citing Colloton as an example. "Understanding the types of judges a presidential nominee would select for the Supreme Court is an important step in this debate so the American people can have voice in the direction of the Supreme Court for the next generation."
Carrie Severino, a former Thomas clerk and lawyer for the Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative group, said it was "heartening to see so many Midwesterners and state court judges on the list. They would bring a valuable perspective to the bench."
The current Supreme Court has been faulted by some because all of its justices were educated at the Harvard or Yale law schools, and most spent their working careers in Washington, New York or Boston.
Josh Blackman, a professor at the South
FOR THE RECORD
6:03 a.m.: An earlier version of this article identified a South Texas College of Law professor as Josh Blackmun. His name is Josh Blackman.
"We have not had a justice appointed from a state court since Ronald Reagan plucked Sandra Day O'Connor from the Arizona [state] Court of Appeals," he said. Doing so would "reinforce the importance of federalism and that federal Constitution is not the end-all, be-all of laws.... I still harbor serious doubts about Mr. Trump's views on constitutional law, but his advisers have served him well here."
Nan Aron, president of the liberal Alliance for Justice, said Trump's list demonstrates the "enormous stakes in the coming election for the future of the court. Taken together, the records of these potential Trump nominees reflect a radical-right ideology that threatens fundamental rights and that favors the powerful over everyone else."
Some conservatives expressed doubts about whether Trump was truly committed to his list. Charles Sykes, an influential conservative radio host in Wisconsin, who has strongly criticized Trump, is the former husband of Diane Sykes. In a Twitter message, he praised his ex-wife, saying she would be "an outstanding choice."
But, he said, "I simply don't believe Trump."
The most outspoken conservative on the list is Pryor, an Alabama native and protege of the state's Republican Sen.
In an early campaign debate, Trump cited Pryor and Sykes as potential Supreme Court nominees to replace Scalia.
Willett made Trump's list even though he has repeatedly used Twitter to mock the candidate.
In February, when Trump referred to Justice
In another tweet, Willet wrote, “Who would the Donald Name to #SCOTUS? The mind reels … weeps — can’t finish tweet." Another time he suggested Trump may be liberal Justice
Lee, the Utah justice, is the son of former Reagan-era Solicitor Gen. Rex Lee and the brother of Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah.
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Times staff writer