Trump's New Supreme Court List Includes Diverse Array of Conservative All-stars

Trump’s New Supreme Court List Includes Diverse Array of Conservative All-stars

President Donald Trump released a list of 20 potential Supreme Court nominees on Wednesday as a supplement to his original list, which he produced during the 2016 presidential campaign.

At the time, Trump said that he would be adding names to the list — a promise he renewed earlier this year. Wednesday’s list marks the fulfillment of that promise.

Here is the new list, with a brief summary of the nominees’ qualifications.

Bridget Bade: Bade, 55, was confirmed to the Ninth Circuit last year. She earned her law degree from the University of Arizona and has worked as a federal prosecutor, an attorney in private practice, and a U.S. magistrate judge. She has a background in environmental law. The White House summarized her qualifications for the Ninth Circuit in 2018:

Prior to her appointment to the bench in 2012, she served for six years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Arizona, handling both civil and appellate matters. Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Judge Bade spent a year as special counsel in the Phoenix office of Steptoe & Johnson, LLP. Before joining Steptoe, she was a shareholder at Beshears Wallwork Bellamy, where her practice focused on complex civil litigation, including the representation of parties in environmental, intellectual property, commercial, and class action litigation. Before entering private practice, Judge Bade served for four years in the Attorney General’s Honors Program as a trial attorney in the Environmental Torts Section within the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice. Upon graduation from law school, Judge Bade served as a law clerk to Judge Edith H. Jones of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Judge Bade earned her B.A., summa cum laude, from Arizona State University, where she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, and her J.D., cum laude, from Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, where she served as an articles editor of the Arizona State Law Journal.

Daniel Cameron: Cameron, 34, became the first African American ever elected to the office of Kentucky Attorney General in 2019, and was also the first Republican elected to that post in 70 years. He is a supporter of Black Voices for Trump, and delivered a well-received speech at the Republican National Convention last month. He said:

I think often about my ancestors who struggled for freedom. And as I think of those giants and their broad shoulders, I also think about Joe Biden, who says, if you aren’t voting for me, “you ain’t black.” Who argued that Republicans would put us “back in chains.” Who says there is no “diversity” of thought in the Black community.

Mr. Vice President look at me, I am Black. We are not all the same, sir. I am not in chains. My mind is my own. And you can’t tell me how to vote because of the color of my skin.

Cameron is currently investigating the death of Breonna Taylor, one of the iconic victims of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Tom Cotton: Cotton, 43, is currently serving his second term as a U.S. Senator from Arkansas. A conservative Republican, he has frequently been considered for senior, Cabinet-level positions, including Secretary of Defense. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and worked in private legal practice before joining the U.S. Army infantry. He served one combat tour each in Afghanistan and Iraq, and also served in the Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery. He is considered one of the leading intellectual and political lights driving the contemporary Republican Party.

Paul Clement: Clement, 54, served as Solicitor General of the United States and is currently in private practice. His bio at the Kirkland & Ellis LLP, where he is a partner, reports:

He has argued over 100 cases before the United States Supreme Court, including McConnell v. FEC, Tennessee v. Lane, United States v. Booker, MGM v. Grokster, ABC v. AereoHobby Lobby v. Burwell, Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, and Rucho v. Common Cause. Paul has argued more Supreme Court cases since 2000 than any lawyer in or out of government. He has also argued many important cases in the lower courts, including Walker v. Cheney, United States v. Moussaoui, and NFL v. Brady.

Clement clerked for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. He also teaches at Georgetown University Law School.

Ted Cruz: Cruz, 49, is currently serving his second term as a U.S. Senator from Texas. He was Trump’s main rival for the Republican Party nomination in 2016 and is widely recognized as a leading conservative voice in national politics. He graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School, and worked for the U.S. Department of Justice. As the Solicitor General of Texas, he argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He also taught law at the University of Texas-Austin. He has previously been discussed as a potential Supreme Court nominee. As a Cuban-American, he would also potentially bring additional ethnic diversity to the Court.

Stuart Kyle Duncan: Duncan, 48, was confirmed to the Fifth Circuit in 2018. He is known as a conservative legal “champion.” According to his biography at the Federalist Society:

Judge Duncan received his B.A. from Louisiana State University in 1994, his J.D. from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University in 1997, and his LL.M. from Columbia Law School in 2004.

After graduating from law school, he clerked for Louisiana-based Circuit Judge John Malcolm Duhé Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

From 2008–2012, Duncan served as Appellate Chief for Louisiana’s Attorney General’s office. From 2012–2014, he served as general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. From 2004-2008, he was an assistant professor of law at the University of Mississippi School of Law.

Before becoming a judge, Duncan practiced at the Washington, D.C. firm of Schaerr Duncan LLP, where he was a founding partner. He was appointed by President Trump to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on May 1, 2018.

Duncan recently ruled against Planned Parenthood clinics being open during coronavirus lockdowns in Texas.

Steven Engel: Engel, 46, is the current United States Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel. According to a profile at AllGov.com:

Engel is from Port Washington, New York, and graduated from Paul Schreiber High School in 1992. His mother, JoAnn, taught at Yeshiva Har Torah, a middle school in Bayside, New York. His father, Mark, was the president of Langsam Property Services Corporation in the Bronx. He went on to Harvard, where he wrote a regular column for the Harvard Crimson, and earned an A.B. in 1996. He then went to Cambridge, earning an M.Phil. in 1997. Engel then moved on to Yale Law School and earned his J.D. in 2000. While there, he was the essays editor of the Yale Law Journal. He subsequently clerked for a year each with two distinguished jurists: Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal, then Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Engel left government with the rest of the Bush administration and became a partner at the Dechart law firm in Washington. He represented Republican governors in U.S. vs. Texas, in which those governors fought the implementation of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, an Obama program to delay some deportations of undocumented immigrants. He also represented those challenging the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act and a financial services company in a suit brought by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Engel clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy — an important consideration, as both of Trump’s previous appointees have been former Kennedy clerks. He was briefly embroiled in the impeachment controversy when he wrote a “secret memo” arguing that the White House did not need to turn over the “whistleblower” complaint to the House Intelligence Committee because the president was not formally a member of the intelligence community.

Noel Francisco: Francisco, 51, is the first Asian American to serve as U.S. Solicitor General. The White House provided his biography in 2017:

Prior to joining the Justice Department, he was a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Jones Day, where he was the chair of the Firm’s Government Regulation Practice. While at Jones Day, he appeared several times before the Supreme Court, including in McDonnell v. United States, which involved the meaning of “official act” under federal bribery statutes; Zubik v. Burwell, which involved the application of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to regulations addressing insurance coverage for contraception; and NLRB v. Noel Canning, which involved the Constitution’s recess appointment power. He has also argued numerous cases in lower federal and State courts on a wide range of constitutional, civil, and criminal matters.

From 2001 to 2003, Mr. Francisco served as Associate Counsel to the President, and from 2003 to 2005 he served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel.

Mr. Francisco was raised in Oswego, NY. He received his B.A. with honors in 1991 from the University of Chicago. He received his J.D. with high honors in 1996 from the University of Chicago Law School. After law school, Mr. Francisco served as a law clerk for Judge J. Michael Luttig of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and then for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Francisco recently stepped down as Solicitor General earlier this summer.

Josh Hawley: Hawley, 40, is currently serving his first term as a U.S. Senator from Missouri. He graduated from Stanford University and Yale Law School. He clerked for Chief Justice John Roberts. He has worked in private legal practice and for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. He has also taught law at the University of Missouri. A conservative stalwart, he recently opposed Congress’s attempt to force the renaming of U.S. Army bases named for Confederate military leaders. His U.S. Senate bio adds more:

Senator Hawley is recognized as one of the nation’s leading constitutional lawyers. He has litigated at the Supreme Court of the United States, the federal courts of appeals, and in state court, fighting for the people’s liberties. He previously fought Obamacare at the Supreme Court — and won — as one of the lead attorneys in the landmark Hobby Lobby case. He was also a lead attorney in the Hosanna-Tabor case at the Supreme Court, protecting the rights of churches.

As Attorney General, he fought the Washington overreach threatening farms and family businesses, including the Waters of the United States Rule and the Clean Power Plan. Senator Hawley has also taken on big opioid manufacturers, challenging their unethical marketing practices that helped create an epidemic of opioid abuse. He cracked down on human trafficking in Missouri, leading the largest anti-trafficking bust in Missouri history. And he stood up to big tech, launching investigations of the most powerful companies in the world—Google and Facebook—to protect Missourians, their data, and the First Amendment.

He has reportedly suggested he would decline nomination, to continue serving as a U.S. Senator.

James Ho: Ho, 47, was confirmed to the Fifth Circuit in 2017. His White House biography at the time read:

Jim Ho is currently a partner in the Dallas office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, where he serves as co-chair of the firm’s appellate and constitutional law practice group. Before joining the firm, Mr. Ho served as Solicitor General of Texas in the Office of the Attorney General of Texas. Before relocating to Texas, Mr. Ho served as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and as Chief Counsel to U.S. Senator John Cornyn on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Mr. Ho also served in the U.S. Department of Justice, first as a special assistant to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, and then as an attorney-advisor in the Office of Legal Counsel. Upon graduation from law school, Mr. Ho served as a law clerk to Judge Jerry E. Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He earned a B.A. in Public Policy, with honors, from Stanford University and a J.D., with high honors, from the University of Chicago Law School.

Ho recently won praise from left-leaning legal pundits for admonishing a lawyer, in the footnote of an opinion, for making what he considered a homophobic argument.

Gregory Katsas: Katsas, 56, was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit in 2017. He worked for the Trump White House from the outset, as the Associated Press noted at the time: “Katsas has worked on some of the president’s most contentious decisions, including his executive orders restricting travel for citizens of predominantly Muslim countries and his decision to end a program protecting some young immigrants from deportation.” The White House provided a biography when he was nominated:

Prior to joining the White House Counsel’s Office, Mr. Katsas was a partner at Jones Day, where he specialized in civil and appellate litigation. He has argued more than 75 appeals, including cases in the U.S. Supreme Court and every Federal appellate court. From 2001 to 2009, Mr. Katsas served in many senior positions in the U.S. Department of Justice, including Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division and Acting Associate Attorney General. In 2009, he was awarded the Edmund Randolph award for outstanding service, the highest award bestowed by the Department. Earlier in his career, Mr. Katsas served as a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas, both at the District of Columbia Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court, and to Judge Edward Becker of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Mr. Katsas earned his A.B. from Princeton University and his J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was an executive editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Katsas was a dissenting judge in the Mazars case over the House of Representatives’ effort to obtain President Trump’s tax records; his view was vindicated by the final Supreme Court decision.

Barbara Lagoa: Lagoa, 52, was confirmed to the Eleventh Circuit in 2019. Earlier that year, Gov. Ron DeSantis had appointed her to the Florida Supreme Court, the first Latina to hold that position. Her Florida Supreme Court biography noted:

Justice Barbara Lagoa was born in Miami, Florida. She received her Bachelor of Arts cum laude in 1989 from Florida International University where she majored in English and was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society. Justice Lagoa received her Juris Doctor from Columbia University School of Law in 1992, where she served as an Associate Editor of the Columbia Law Review. She is fluent in English and Spanish.

On January 9, 2019, she became the first Hispanic woman and the first Cuban American woman appointed to serve on the Florida Supreme Court. Prior to her appointment by Governor Ron DeSantis to the Florida Supreme Court, Governor Jeb Bush appointed her in June of 2006 to serve on the Third District Court of Appeal. At that court, she became the first Hispanic woman and the first Cuban American woman appointed to serve on the Third District Court of Appeal. On January 1, 2019, she became the first Hispanic female Chief Judge of the Third District Court of Appeal.

Prior to joining the bench, Justice Lagoa practiced in both the civil and criminal arenas. Her civil practice at Greenberg Traurig focused on general and complex commercial litigation, particularly the areas of employment discrimination, business torts, securities litigation, construction litigation, and insurance coverage disputes. In 2003, she joined the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida as an Assistant United States Attorney, where she worked in the Civil, Major Crimes and Appellate Sections. As an Assistant United States Attorney, she tried numerous criminal jury trials, including drug conspiracies and Hobbs Act violations. She also handled a significant number of appeals.

Lagoa also represented the family of Elián Gonzalez, the Cuban boy who was forcibly returned to Cuba in 2000.

Christopher Landau: Landau, 56, is an immigrant from Spain who currently serves as the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. His biography, as provided by the White House at the time of his nomination, says:

Mr. Landau is a constitutional and appellate attorney who has briefed and argued appeals before the United States Supreme Court, Federal courts of appeals, and State appellate courts.  He is a partner in the law firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP and previously headed the appellate litigation practice at the firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP.  In 2017, the Chief Justice appointed Mr. Landau to a three-year term as a member of the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Appellate Rules.  Earlier in his career, Mr. Landau was a law clerk for United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and then for Justice Clarence Thomas.  Mr. Landau earned his A.B. degree, summa cum laude, from Harvard College, where he received a Certificate in Latin American Studies, and his J.D. degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School.  He is fluent in Spanish.

Landau’s father was a Jewish refugee from Nazi Europe.

Carlos Muñiz: Muñiz, 51, is currently a judge on the Florida Supreme Court. His appointment by Gov. DeSantis in 2019 was somewhat controversial, as he lacked prior judicial experience. His Florida Supreme Court biography indicates:

Prior to joining the Court, he served on the staff of Secretary Betsy DeVos as the presidentially-appointed, Senate-confirmed general counsel of the United States Department of Education.

In addition to working as an attorney in the federal government and in private practice, Justice Muñiz had an extensive career in Florida state government. He served as the deputy attorney general and chief of staff to Attorney General Pam Bondi; as deputy chief of staff and counsel in the Office of the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives; as general counsel of the Department of Financial Services; and as deputy general counsel to Governor Jeb Bush.

Muñiz graduated from the University of Virginia and Yale Law School.

Martha Pacold: Pacold, 41, was confirmed in 2019 as a federal judge in the Northern District of Illinois. Her biography at the White House at the time of her nomination read:

Martha Pacold serves as Deputy General Counsel of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Prior to this appointment, she served as Executive Secretary at the agency. Before that, Ms. Pacold was an associate and then a partner in the Chicago office of Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott, LLP. She also was a Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School. Earlier in her career, Ms. Pacold served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and as Counsel to the Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice. Ms. Pacold served as a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court of the United States, to Judge Jay S. Bybee of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and to Judge A. Raymond Randolph of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Ms. Pacold earned her B.A., with highest distinction, from Indiana University, where she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, and her J.D., with honors, from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was inducted into the Order of the Coif and served as Editor-in-Chief of the University of Chicago Law Review.

Peter Phipps: Phipps, 47, was confirmed to the Third Circuit in 2018. He has risen quickly through the judicial ranks under President Trump, having first been appointed to the federal bench for the Western District of Pennsylvania that same year. According to his White House biography in 2018:

Before taking the bench, Judge Phipps served as Senior Trial Counsel in the Federal Programs Branch of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division.  During his 14-year tenure at the Justice Department, Judge Phipps litigated some of the most significant cases implicating the interests of the United States and received numerous awards and commendations, including the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award.  Earlier in his career, Judge Phipps spent three years as an associate at Jones Day, where his practice focused on civil litigation.  He also served as a law clerk to Judge R. Guy Cole, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  Mr. Phipps earned both a B.S. and a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Dayton and earned his J.D. from Stanford Law School, where he served as the Managing Editor of the Stanford Law & Policy Review.

Gay rights activists opposed Phipps’s appointment to the Third Circuit because he refused to say that he would automatically honor a transgender litigant’s choice of pronoun, preferring instead to consult the judicial record first.

Sarah Pitlyk: Pitlyk, 43, was confirmed in 2019 as a federal district judge for the Eastern District of Missouri. Her White House biography at the time stated:

Sarah Pitlyk is a Special Counsel at the Thomas More Society, where her practice focuses on constitutional and civil rights litigation. Before joining the Thomas More Society, Ms. Pitlyk worked at Clark & Sauer LLC, a civil litigation firm in St. Louis, Missouri, and was an associate at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, D.C. Upon graduation from law school, Ms. Pitlyk served as a law clerk to then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Ms. Pitlyk earned her B.A., summa cum laude, from Boston College, M.A.’s from Georgetown University and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), where she studied as a Fulbright Scholar, and her J.D. from Yale Law School.

Allison Jones Rushing: Rushing, 38, was confirmed to the Fourth Circuit in 2019. Her White House biography at the time read:

A native North Carolinian, Allison Rushing is a partner with Williams and Connolly LLP.  There, her practice focuses on appellate matters, constitutional issues, and regulatory challenges.  Ms. Rushing is widely viewed as one of the best young appellate lawyers in the country: Legal 500 has praised Ms. Rushing for her “excellent writing advocacy skills,” The National Law Journal has recognized her stellar oral advocacy in the Federal courts of appeals, and Super Lawyers has recognized her as one of its “Rising Stars.”  Ms. Rushing has argued before Federal courts of appeals and state appellate courts, in addition to briefing cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Upon graduation from law school, Ms. Rushing clerked for then-Judge Neil Gorsuch on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, then-Chief Judge David Sentelle on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and Justice Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court of the United States.  Ms. Rushing earned her B.A., summa cum laude, from Wake Forest University, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and her J.D., magna cum laude, from Duke University School of Law, where she served as executive editor of the Duke Law Journal.

Rushing was opposed by the left because of her work for Christian legal non-profit organizations on cases such as Masterpiece Cakeshop.

Kate Todd: Todd is currently the Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Counsel to the President. Her biography at the Federalist Society reads:

Prior to her service in the White House, Todd was a partner in the appellate, litigation, and communications practices of the firm Wiley, Rein & Fielding, in Washington, D.C. She represented businesses in federal and state litigation and regulatory matters and helped them develop and execute national, multiforum legal strategies. Todd serves as a public member of the Administrative Conference of the United States. She also teaches the law of federal courts at The George Washington University Law School, and taught constitutional law at Cornell University’s Washington program.

Todd clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas.

Lawrence VanDyke: VanDyke, 47, was confirmed to the Ninth Circuit in 2019. His biography, as provided by the White House at the time, read:

Lawrence VanDyke currently serves as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division at the Department of Justice. From 2015 to 2019, Mr. VanDyke served as the Nevada Solicitor General, where he served as the State’s top appellate attorney and litigated numerous cases on behalf of the State of Nevada in the United States Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Nevada Supreme Court, and State and Federal district courts. Before his service in Nevada, Mr. VanDyke served as the Solicitor General of Montana, where he litigated many of that State’s most consequential cases. Mr. VanDyke also worked in private practice with Gibson Dunn and Crutcher LLP. Upon graduation from law school, Mr. VanDyke served as a law clerk to Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Mr. VanDyke earned his B.S., with highest honors, from Montana State University and his J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School, where he served as an Editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is Trump’s Democratic opponent in 2020, has not yet released a list of his choices.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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