Trump Releases Names of Potential Supreme Court Picks

PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Eugene, Ore., May 6, 2016.PlayTed S. Warren/AP Photo
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Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, on Wednesday unveiled a list of 11 potential Supreme Court justices — most of them male — to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia should Trump be elected president.

Under consideration are Steven Colloton of Iowa, Allison Eid of Colorado, Raymond Gruender of Missouri, 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.

Colloton was nominated to the Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit by President George W. Bush in 2003 and confirmed by a nearly unanimous Senate vote. He previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Iowa for eight years and spent time in private practice as a civil litigator, according to his Senate confirmation hearing. He is a graduate of Yale Law School and was a clerk for Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

Eid has been a member of the Colorado Supreme Court since 2006, when she was appointed by Republican Gov. Bill Owens. She was previously the solicitor general of Colorado and has taught constitutional law and other courses at the University of Colorado, according to her Colorado Bar Association biography. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School and clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas.

Gruender has served on the Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit since 2004, when he was appointed by Bush. He previously served as a U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri and is prosecution-minded when it comes to adjudicating criminal cases, according to his Almanac of the Federal Judiciary biography. He earned undergraduate, law and business degrees from Washington University in St. Louis.

Hardiman was named to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in 2007 by Bush — the same court on which Trump’s sister Maryanne Trump Barry serves. He was a federal district court judge before his appointment.

Kethledge has been on the Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit since his 2008 appointment by Bush. He previously served in various roles in private practice, including as a counsel at Ford Motor Co., and was a judiciary counsel to Sen. Spencer Abraham, according to his Almanac of the Federal Judiciary biography. He earned his law degree from the University of Michigan and clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Larsen was named to the Michigan Supreme Court last September. According to her court biography, she was on the University of Michigan Law School faculty for more than a decade. A former clerk for Scalia, she wrote in a February New York Times op-ed that “it is difficult to imagine anyone filling the gap” he left.

Lee has served as the associate chief justice of the Utah Supreme Court since 2010, according to his official court biography. Before his time on the bench, he was a law professor at Brigham Young University. He is the brother of Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who said last week that Trump “scares me to death.”

Pryor was appointed to the 11th Circuit Court by Bush in 2005, according to his court of appeals biography. Before that, he served as the attorney general of Alabama from 1997 to 2004. According to state archives, he gained national notice during his tenure as attorney general for his prosecution and removal of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore for defying an order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building. Trump made mention of Pryor as a potential Supreme Court nominee during February’s South Carolina GOP debate.

Stras has served as the associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court since 2010. Before his time on the bench, he was a faculty member at the University of Minnesota School of Law, according to his court biography.

Sykes serves on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. She was appointed to the position by Bush in 2003, according to her official court biography. Before her time as a federal judge, she was a justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court from 1999 to 2004. Like Pryor, she was mentioned by Trump as a potential nominee during the South Carolina Republican debate in February.

Willett has been a justice on the Texas Supreme Court since 2005. According to his court biography, he served as the state’s deputy attorney general before his appointment to the court. The self-described “tweeter laureate of Texas,” he has been an outspoken critic of Trump on social media.

Trump's announcement comes after Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called on the candidate to reveal the Supreme Court justices he would think about nominating should he win the November election.

“I think a smart thing for Donald Trump to do would be to release five to 10 names of people that he would pool from to say, ‘Here’s 10 folks that I think would make great Supreme Court justices,’ and work with people to come up with that list,” Priebus said earlier this month.