President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced 20 additions to his list of prospective Supreme Court nominees, including Republican senators Ted Cruz (Texas), Tom Cotton (Ark.), and Josh Hawley (Mo.) as well as 8 Trump appointees on the federals appeals courts.
A source familiar with the process told the Washington Free Beacon that the list was curated primarily by White House staff with regular and extensive input from outside advisers. The source added that the list is meant to highlight that the conservative legal establishment has a diverse and well-credentialed bench of candidates.
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Wednesday's announcement, made with an eye toward the November election, is meant to galvanize conservatives after halting progress in the promised revolution of jurisprudence Trump hawked in 2016. While legal conservatives have notched landmark victories on school choice, religious symbolism in public life, and the First Amendment, they have been attended by recent setbacks on LGBT rights and abortion. Joe Biden has yet to issue his own list though he has promised to name a black woman to the Supreme Court, greatly narrowing the universe of possibilities.
Biden has thus far resisted calls to identify specific judges he would consider for the High Court. Trump said Wednesday that Biden must release a list, but speculated that he wouldn't because it would hurt his electability.
"Joe Biden has refused to release his list, perhaps because he knows the names are so extremely far left that they could never withstand public scrutiny or receive acceptance," Trump said. "He must release a list of justices for people to properly make a decision as to how they will vote."
The inclusion of high-profile elected officials on the list was the biggest surprise, and not all of them said they would be willing to accept if nominated.
Cotton said he was "honored" to be included on Trump's list and "will always heed the call of service" to the country
For his part, Hawley was quick to disclaim any interest in judicial service. The Missouri Republican has criticized conservative leaders for dumping social issues on the bottom of their judicial agenda in recent months. Hawley called for a new beginning of the conservative legal movement after Justice Neil Gorsuch, a Trump appointee, wrote a landmark LGBT rights decision in June.
"As I told the president, Missourians elected me to fight for them in the Senate, and I have no interest in the High Court," Hawley tweeted after the announcement. "I look forward to confirming constitutional conservatives."
Whatever Hawley's misgivings, conservative legal groups are keeping faith with the administration.
‘By issuing his updated Supreme Court list today, President Trump is once again putting his cards on the table for the American people — promising to pick Supreme Court justices who understand their crucial job in protecting us from government overreach and mob rule," said Mike Davis, president of the conservative Article III Project.
The new additions include:
Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas)
Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.)
Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.)
Judge Bridget Bade, Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan, Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Judge James Ho, Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Judge Gregory Katsas, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
Judge Barbara Lagoa, 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Judge Peter Phipps, Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Judge Allison Jones Rushing, Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Judge Lawrence Van Dyke, Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Judge Sarah Pitlyk, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
Judge Martha Pacold, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Justice Carlos Muniz, Florida Supreme Court
Assistant attorney general Steven Engel
Deputy White House counsel Kate Todd
U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau
Former solicitor general Paul Clement
Former solicitor general Noel Francisco
Kentucky attorney general Daniel Cameron