On Sept. 21, President Donald Trump stated that he was considering the replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court from a pool of five women he has selected from the 12 on his list. He also told reporters that the choice would be announced on Friday or Saturday and that the women “are being looked at and vetted very carefully.” Let’s take a look at all of the 12 women Trump has considered.
In May 2016, candidate Trump made public his list of proposed Supreme Court nominees. In November 2017, the White House updated President Trump’s Supreme Court list, which contained the names of six women. On Sept. 9, less than two weeks before Ginsburg’s passing, Trump added more names, including six more women. He said the “additions I am announcing today would be jurists in the mold of Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito.” One of these 12 women will be the nominee:
Amy Coney Barrett is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, where she has been for just under three years, appointed by Trump. She’s 48 years old and was confirmed with votes from three Democratic senators. Barrett is a devout Catholic who clerked for Justice Scalia. She has seven children, including two adopted from Haiti and one with special needs. A former member of the University of Notre Dame’s Faculty for Life, Barrett signed a 2015 letter to Catholic bishops that affirmed the “teachings of the Church as truth.”
Allison Eid is a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, where she has been since Trump nominated her to replace Neil Gorsuch in 2017. The 55-year-old previously served for more than ten years on the Colorado Supreme Court. Before that, Eid clerked for Justice Thomas.
Britt Grant, 42 years old, sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. She has been on that court for two years, appointed by Trump, and was confirmed by a vote of 52-46. Before her federal service, Grant was an associate justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia for a little more than a year. Before that, she was the solicitor general of Georgia.
Joan Larsen, 51 years old, sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit since Trump appointed her there in 2017. She was confirmed by a 60-38 vote, with eight Democrats on her side. Larsen is another former Justice Scalia law clerk on the list, and she was an associate justice of the Michigan Supreme Court for two years before starting her federal service.
Margaret Ryan is a senior judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. She is 56 years old and has been in her current job since President George W. Bush nominated her in 2006. She, too, served as a law clerk to Justice Thomas.
Diane Sykes is 62 years old, which makes her an unlikely choice for the nomination. She is chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, a position to which she was nominated by George W. Bush in 2004. Sykes has been a judge at the federal, state, or local level since 1992.
Bridget Bade is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, where she has sat for more than a year. Before her appointment by Trump, the 54-year-old was a U.S. magistrate judge for the District of Arizona and an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Arizona. The Senate voted to confirm Bade to her current seat by a 78-21 vote in 2019.
Barbara Lagoa is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. She is 52 years old and formerly was a justice on the Supreme Court of Florida. Lagoa had served on state appellate courts since 2006, until Trump nominated her for the federal bench last year. If selected and approved, she would be the second Hispanic on the Supreme Court, after Sonya Sotomayor, and her strong ties to Florida make her a solid contender because of the state’s importance in the electoral map. Lagoa’s nomination was confirmed by a vote of 80-15, further advancing her candidacy as a bipartisan pick.
Martha Pacold is a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. She is only 41 years old. Prior to her appointment in 2019, she served as a law clerk to Justice Thomas. She was confirmed by a vote of 87-3, but her youth and relative inexperience mean that her large majority vote for a lower District Court position may not translate over to a high-court nomination.
Sarah Pitlyk is a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Like Pacold, she is a 40-something who sits on a district court rather than an appellate court. Pitlyk was barely confirmed to her bench by the full Senate, with a vote of 49–44, making her unlikely to be a replacement for Ginsburg.
Allison Jones Rushing is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, where she was appointed by Trump in 2019. She clerked for Justice Thomas and for Neil Gorsuch, before he became a Supreme Court justice, at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. In her late 30s, Rushing is the youngest woman on the list. The Senate voted to confirm Rushing 53-44.
Kathryn Comerford Todd is deputy assistant to the president and deputy counsel to the president. She is in her mid-40s, clerked for Justice Thomas, and is the former senior vice president and chief counsel for the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center, an arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Todd has a rare distinction among those in the pool of potential nominees. She has a Harvard law degree, the only one who does. Think about it this way: Every person on today’s Supreme Court has a degree from either Harvard or Yale or both, including the departed Justice Ginsburg. Only one of Trump’s dozen women does.
As for former Vice President Joe Biden? He has not released the names of any people he might nominate for the high court.
Read more from Scott D. Cosenza.
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