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Who Are Trump’s Potential Supreme Court Nominees?

— January 4, 2017

As President-elect Trump’s inauguration looms closer, talk over his potential Supreme Court nominees has increased. So far there are eight people in the running to replace the late Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia, according to people on Trump’s transition team. Let’s take a look at each of the potential Supreme Court nominees.

William Pryor, 54 – Judge, 11th Circuit Court of Appeals

Well known among constitutional conservatives for his uncompromising criticism of many liberal Supreme Court decisions, Pryor is an elected attorney general of Alabama. In 2004 he made it onto the 11th Circuit after being denied the position for almost a year by Senate Democrats and was officially confirmed in 2005 during the well known “Gang of 13” deal. He’s not afraid to tell things as it is, and isn’t afraid to stand up to federal judges.

Diane Sykes, 59 – Judge, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Sykes is a former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice and played a big role in transforming the judiciary in the state to a more conservative one. In 2004 she was confirmed to the 7th Circuit and while on the appeals court, she “issued a decision compelling a state-run university to recognize a Christian legal group as an official school organization even though the group banned leaders engaged in homosexuality.”

Raymond Kethledge, 50 – Judge, 6th Circuit Court of Appeals

After joining the 6th Circuit in 2008, Kethledge has become well known among conservative circles for his rulings against the Obama administration’s stances on environmental and employment discrimination cases. A graduate of the University of Michigan’s Law School, he spent time on Capitol Hill as a “Judiciary Committee counsel to former Sen. Spencer Abraham before heading across the street to clerk for Justice Anthony Kennedy.”

Supreme Court; Image Courtesy of Pixabay,
Supreme Court; Image Courtesy of Pixabay,

Joan Larsen, 48 – Justice, Michigan Supreme Court

The youngest nominee on Trump’s list, Northwestern law grad Joan Larsen brings the unique possibility of being able to serve for three decades. Most of her legal career has been spent as a University of Michigan law professor, and in 2015 she was appointed to Michigan’s top court. She also spent time as a clerk for Justice Scalia before his death.

Neil Gorsuch, 49 – Judge, 10th Circuit Court of Appeals

Another of Trump’s potential Supreme Court nominees, Gorsuch brings something unique to the table. He’s a graduate of Columbia, Harvard, and Oxford who spent nearly 10 years in private practice before accepting a job with the Justice Department. Additionally, he spent time as a clerk to Supreme Court Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy and was confirmed to the 10th Circuit shortly after being nominated in 2006.

Steven Colloton, 53 – Judge, 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

A graduate of Princeton and Yale, Colloton has experience serving as a clerk for Chief Justice William Rehnquist. He was also a federal prosecutor in Iowa for eight years, and “served two years as U.S. Attorney in Des Moines before being tapped by Bush for the federal appeals court in 2003.”

Raymond Gruender, 53 – Judge, 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

A graduate of Washington University and former U.S. Attorney in St. Louis, Gruender is a well-known conservative on the 8th Circuit. Before his job as an attorney, he was a prosecutor that handled “white collar crime and corruption cases involving county council members, as well as lawyers and judges connected to a scandal in Missouri’s workers’ compensation system.” Currently, he maintains judicial chambers in St. Louis.

Thomas Hardiman, 51 – Judge, 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals

Before joining the 3rd Circuit, Hardiman spent nearly three years as a federal judge in Pittsburg. A graduate of Notre Dame and Georgetown, he’s well known for driving a taxi to pay for law school. He’s also well liked by gun advocates due to his 2013 dissent that claimed New Jersey was violating the second amendment by “requiring those seeking to carry a handgun to demonstrate a “justifiable need” for such a permit.”


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