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Trump’s Supreme Court Deal

As many know, Donald Trump has released a list of 11 people he might nominate to the Supreme Court if he is elected.

While I don’t know all of the people on the list, many of them are quite first rate and I have not heard any criticisms of people on the list that seem especially troubling. Thus, it is reassuring to many on the Right, who are skeptical of a Trump presidency, that he seems to be willing to nominate people who are supported by more conventional Republicans.

Although the list surprised many people, it makes perfect sense. Donald Trump is trying to work out an accommodation—a deal—with the Republican party. The conventional Republicans care a great deal about the Supreme Court appointment, and therefore this is a perfect way for Trump to secure their support.

Some people are skeptical that Trump will live up to his end of the agreement. While no one can know for sure, I tend to doubt he will renege on his end of the deal. This will be one of Trump’s earliest actions and such a reneging would tremendously hurt him with the Republicans. If he wanted to get his agenda accomplished, double crossing the Republicans would not be advisable.

While Trump is not my cup of tea, it is important to try to understand him and not to underestimate him. He claims that he is about making deals and that makes sense, given his background in real estate. If he becomes President, the question may then figuring out what deals he is willing to make. While some of those deals may be with the Democrats, if the Republicans control the Congress, those deals are likely to be largely with the Republicans. If his presidency were dominated by deals with the Republicans, that would be a very different presidency than many of his critics on the Right are imagining.

Reader Discussion

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on May 23, 2016 at 15:05:58 pm

After reviewing the list of judicial candidates from Trump, I started to try to put together a list of libertarian lawyers and judges that might be proposed by the Libertarian Party nominee. I can't find a list anywhere, and have tried to put one together from general knowledge.
My first candidates would be

Randy Barnett
Roger Pilon
Janice Rogers Brown
Alex Kozinski
David Sentelle
William Baude
Larry Becraft
Stephen Calabresi
Elizabeth Price Foley
Michaek Greve
Kurt Lash
Gary Larson
Robert Natelson
Michael Rappaport
Roger Roots
Lawrence Solum

These are taken from http://constitution.org/cs_peopl.htm , not including some who are social conservative or too old. You might have some more.

http://constitutionalism.blogspot.com/2016/05/libertarian-judge-candidates.html

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Jon Roland
on May 23, 2016 at 15:20:16 pm

Today presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump released a list of eleven candidates for the U.S. Supreme Court. I list them here with links to more information about them and my brief comments on their fitness.

Steven Colloton -- Iowa. Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Professor at U. Minnesota School of Law, specializing on constitutional law. Clerked for SC Justice Clarence Thomas.

Allison Eid -- Colorado. Justice, Colorado Supreme Court. Professor U. Colorado Law School, specializing on constitutional law. Clerked for SC Justice Clarence Thomas.
Raymond Gruender -- Missouri. Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
Thomas Hardiman -- Pennsylvania. Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Two bad decisions: Dissented from the court's decision to uphold under the Second Amendment a New Jersey law requiring residents to make a showing of "justifiable need" to receive a license to carry a handgun in public. Held that a police officer was immune from suit because there is no clearly established First Amendment right to videotape police officers during traffic stops. The right is a Ninth Amendment right to supervise public servants.
Raymond Kethledge -- Michigan. Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Clerked for United States Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Joan Larsen -- Michigan. Associate Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. Clerked
Thomas Lee - Utah. Associate Justice of the Utah Supreme Court. Pioneer in the application of corpus linguistics to determine ordinary meaning, being the first American judge to do so in an opinion. Clerked for SC Justice Clarence Thomas.
William Pryor -- Alabama. Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Said that Roe v. Wade was the "worst abomination in the history of constitutional law." Some controversial opinions in civil rights cases. Many pro-government decisions.
David Stras -- Minnesota. Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Clerked for SC Justice Clarence Thomas.
Diane Sykes -- Wisconsin. Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, formerly Judge on Wisconsin Supreme court. Strong supporter of Second Amendment.
Don Willett -- Texas. Justice Texas Supreme Court. Drafted the first two executive orders of the Bush presidency.

Of these the only one I have met personally id Don Willett. He is a bright, personable guy with a good sense of humor, which could be a goo thing on the Supreme Court, where Justice Scalia was famous for his wit. He is also active on Twitter, with some critical tweets on Trump.

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Jon Roland
on May 24, 2016 at 00:39:31 am

"While some of those deals may be with the Democrats, if the Republicans control the Congress, those deals are likely to be largely with the Republicans."

I would not bet on it. Trump has no ideological moorings or policy goals (even on immigration), and, if he becomes president, will make whatever deals seem to be in his personal interest, i.e., those that will earn him the best press and avoid congressional investigations and efforts to impeach him. If, hypothetically, the Republicans maintain roughly the degree of control they have now (unlikely, but maybe it could happen if Trump is elected), I expect Trump to form an alliance with the working congressional majority of Democrats and RINOs (which we just saw in action saving funding for Obama's "housing" initiative) and the MSM. This will be the path of least resistance for him. He seems to relish bashing Republicans and conservatives, which he has been doing for years, and will be pleased to take it up again once in office. Those of his voters and political supporters who complain will be discarded in the nastiest way possible.

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djf
on May 24, 2016 at 10:52:03 am

" Dissented from the court’s decision to uphold under the Second Amendment a New Jersey law requiring residents to make a showing of “justifiable need” to receive a license to carry a handgun in public."

Perhaps, the wording of this sentence is what confuses me. Why is it a bad decision by Hardiman? If the Court was affirming a requirement under the 2nd amendment that a citizen must demonstrate a "justifiable need", then the court is wrong and Hardiman is right - it does not say "to keep and (justifiably) bear arms."

Also, see Evan Bernick's essay above: Do any of these jurists exhibit and understanding of their "judicial duty"?

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gabe
on May 24, 2016 at 10:56:24 am

"Trump to form an alliance with the working congressional majority of Democrats and RINOs (which we just saw in action saving funding for Obama’s “housing” initiative) and the MSM."

You are right about the 16 RINOS and AFFHP.

Yet, it seems to me that this is actually a reason to vote for The Trumpster. If Madame Hillary is elected, you can bet that these same 16 RINOS will go along with HER SCOTUS nominees. Recall that the execrable Sen. McCain gleefully went along with Obamas nominees "Elections have consequences" he said and rubber stamped the ideologues now occupying seats on SCOTUS.

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gabe
on May 24, 2016 at 11:27:40 am

The point is, Trump will not be bargaining with Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Tom Cotton over SCOTUS nominees, as the post seems to imply; he will be bargaining with Schumer, Leahy, McConnell, Graham, McCain, Collins, et al. We would be incredibly lucky even to get another Anthony Kennedy out of him. Much more likely is another nominally Republican but doctrinally "progressive" jurist like Souter, except probably one that we will know in advance is on the other side. The list Trump's campaign just put out is just a perfunctory ruse to keep conservatives on board. Expecting him to nominate on those judges is about as realistic as expecting Mexico to pay for the wall.

That said, if you think the difference between another Souter/Harriet Miers and another Ginsberg/Sotomayor makes it worthwhile to vote for Trump, I can see some logic in that.

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djf
on May 24, 2016 at 11:38:36 am

djf:

"Souter/Harriet Miers and another Ginsberg/Sotomayor makes it worthwhile to vote for Trump, I can see some logic in that."

I suppose that is where I am "at." I would settle for that - but The Trumpster may surprise and honor the "prospective" deal.

BTW: Do you mean to say that Mexico is NOT going to pay for the WALL. Well, I'll be damned - never wudda guessed it; and here i thought my Queens compadre was going to do this.

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gabe
on May 24, 2016 at 13:30:22 pm

The whole point of telling people that Mexico will pay for the wall is probably to give Trump an excuse for not building it if he's elected. I mean, assuming he even wants to be elected, which I'm not convinced is the case.

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djf
on May 24, 2016 at 15:18:43 pm

Gabe is correct. I read it carelessly. I've fixed it in my blogs.

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Jon Roland

Law & Liberty welcomes civil and lively discussion of its articles. Abusive comments will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to delete comments - or ban users - without notification or explanation.