WASHINGTON (CBS) — President Trump said Thursday he plans to release a new list of potential Supreme Court nominees after the justices rebuffed his administration’s attempt to roll back the Obama-era program that shields young immigrants from the threat of deportation.
Mr. Trump said in a pair of tweets the updated list will be revealed September 1, just two months before the 2020 presidential election.
“If given the opportunity, I will only choose from this list, as in the past, a conservative Supreme Court justice,” he said. “Based on decisions being rendered now, this list is more important than ever before (Second Amendment, Right to Life, Religious Liberty, etc.) – VOTE 2020!”
…Based on decisions being rendered now, this list is more important than ever before (Second Amendment, Right to Life, Religous Liberty, etc.) – VOTE 2020!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2020
In teasing a new list of potential Supreme Court contenders, Mr. Trump appears to be following the playbook he used in the 2016 presidential election, during which he released an initial list of 11 candidates to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat following his death in February 2016.
Mr. Trump’s promise to choose Scalia’s successor from that list helped drive enthusiasm from conservative voters, solidifying his presidential win over Hillary Clinton. The president’s pick to replace Scalia, Justice Neil Gorsuch, was not on Mr. Trump’s first list, though he was added in September 2016. His second Supreme Court nominee, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, was part of a later iteration released by the White House in November 2017.
Gorsuch and Kavanaugh were both judges on the federal appeals courts before they were elevated to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh replaced Justice Anthony Kennedy following his retirement in 2018, and his appointment cemented the high court’s 5-4 conservative majority.
The president’s promise of another Supreme Court list comes at the close of a tough week for his administration at the high court, with major rulings on cases involving abortion and subpoenas for his financial records still to come.
Earlier Thursday, the court ruled 5-4 that Mr. Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was unlawful. Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberal wing of the bench in ruling against the president. On Monday, the Supreme Court extended federal workplace protections to LGBTQ people with a 6-3 decision written by Gorsuch. The Trump administration had argued changes to the scope of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which was at the center of the legal battle, were best left to Congress.
Also on Monday, the Supreme Court rejected a request from the Justice Department to take up its challenge to a California sanctuary law that restricts when state and local law enforcement can assist federal authorities with immigration enforcement activities, and turned away a slew of challenges to state laws that place restrictions on firearms.
If Mr. Trump were to win a second term, it’s unclear whether he would have the chance to fill another vacancy. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the anchor of the liberal wing, is 87 and has undergone four bouts with cancer, while Justice Stephen Breyer is 81. Still, Ginsburg has vowed to remain on the bench until she is at least 90.
If either of them were to step down from the Supreme Court, leaving Mr. Trump to fill their seats, it would further solidify the court’s conservative majority.
First published on June 18, 2020 / 2:53 PM
© 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.