The exit of long-time U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has paved the way for Pres. Donald J. Trump to change the complexion of the high court for a generation.
His first selection — conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch — has already had a profound impact. The Colorado originalist has restored the conservative majority that upheld religious rights in the so-called Gay Wedding Cake case, and struck down the stranglehold public sector unions had over government employees.
In less than two years, Pres. Trump’s pick has provided the constitutional insight from the bench one would expect from a jurist far his senior. Justice Gorsuch will now be followed by — presumably — another nominee faithful to the vision of the Founding Fathers.
Despite outcry from Democrats such as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to delay a selection, Pres. Trump has vowed to move forward and again keep his promise to select a qualified judge from a list he published during the run-up to the 2016 election. These are some strong possibilities.
Thomas Hardiman has History on His Side
The 3rd District U.S. Court of Appeals judge reportedly ran a close second to Neil Gorsuch when the president filled his first vacancy. That would seem to make him the odds-on favorite to get the nod this time around.
The Notre Dame graduate who earned his law degree at Georgetown has held down his current position since 2006. Even then, he was a rising star who was elevated after only three years at a federal judgeship in Pittsburgh. Hardiman has a non-Ivy League pedigree and a consistent decision-making history that appeals to Pres. Trump and the GOP at large.
Widely considered a law and order judge, Hardiman backed prison policies to strip search prisoners regardless of the level of crime. His ruling was upheld at the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision with the conservative wing in the majority. He has also blasted states who violate the Second Amendment right to bear arms and supports law-abiding citizens’ ability to secure conceal carry permits.
If nominated, Americans can expect a particularly hostile response from Democrats and a Senate vote almost entirely along party lines.
Amy Coney Barrett: the Dark Horse Favorite
If anyone is a favorite to outpace Judge Hardiman in this round, it could be Judge Barrett. Her stock appears to be rising on multiple fronts.
Pres. Trump has a long history of favoring strong female leadership, something that goes widely underreported by the mainstream media. As such, he elevated Judge Barret to the 7th District U.S. Court of Appeals in October 2017. She also was a former law clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia, whom the president revered. Her background includes a bachelor’s degree from Rhode College and a law degree from the University of Notre Dame.
Barrett is considered a devout, practicing Catholic and her religious background became a source off backlash during hearings by Democrats, most notably Sen. Diane Feinstein. Barrett reportedly pushed back saying, “It’s never appropriate for a judge to impose that judge’s personal convictions, whether they arise from faith or anywhere else, on the law.”
But there are a few intangibles that point to Judge Barrett getting the nomination. At 46 years old, she could sustain Pres. Trump’s impact on the high court for more than three decades. The Louisiana native also has ties to Vice Pres. Mike Pence’s home state of Indiana.
Brett Kavanaugh would be a Risky Pick
Several media outlets point to Judge Kavanaugh as the odds-on favorite to get the nomination. In several ways, his name appearing on the list of candidates seems unusual at best.
The Pres. George W. Bush appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia shows all the signs of the Ivy League and swamp background many grassroots Trump supporters have grown to distrust. Couple that background and tenure with the fact he clerked for retiring Justice Kennedy and Kavanaugh looks like a recipe for another moderate swing vote.
Pres. Trump favors tough conservative positions on law and order, immigration, religious liberty and leans pro-life. Kavanaugh would likely garner some Democrat support, but he appears to risky.
~ Conservative Zone