Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Trump Adds Five to List of Potential Supreme Court Picks

Updated on
  • D.C. judge Kavanaugh joins Trump appointees Barrett, Newsom
  • List totals 25 as White House eyes possible Kennedy retirement

President Donald Trump added five judges to his list of possible U.S. Supreme Court nominees, including one who serves on a prominent federal appeals court in Washington and another whose religious views were a point of controversy when the president picked her for a different appeals court this year.

The additions of Judges Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett and three others bring Trump’s list of prospective nominees to 25 as the White House prepares for a possible Supreme Court departure next year.

Trump also added federal appeals court Judge Kevin Newsom, Georgia Supreme Court Justice Britt Grant and Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Patrick Wyrick.

The White House said in a statement the additions "were selected with input from respected conservative leaders."

Kavanaugh, 52, is the most experienced member of the group and the only one over age 50. He is a former law clerk to Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court’s 81-year-old swing justice and a focus of retirement speculation. Trump’s first Supreme Court appointee, Justice Neil Gorsuch, also clerked for Kennedy.

A 2006 appointee of President George W. Bush to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Kavanaugh was a prominent omission when Trump released his first lists of possible nominees during the presidential campaign.

Barrett, a former law professor at the University of Notre Dame, won confirmation to the Chicago-based 7th Circuit last month on a 55-43 vote, almost along party lines. During her Senate hearing, Democrats questioned the role her Catholic faith would play on the bench.

Religious View

Senator Dianne Feinstein of California said she was concerned "the dogma lives loudly within you." Barrett’s supporters accused Democrats of imposing a religious test.

Newsom is another Trump appeals court appointee. The former solicitor general of Alabama, he now serves on the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit. His resume includes a clerkship for Justice David Souter, a liberal who retired from the Supreme Court in 2009. The Senate confirmed Newsom in August, 66-31.

Grant is a former solicitor general of Georgia and law clerk to Kavanaugh on the D.C. Circuit. Wyrick served as solicitor general of Oklahoma under then-Attorney General Scott Pruitt, now the head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The White House said any new nominees would resemble Gorsuch, who has established himself as one of the most conservative justices since joining the court in April.

"The president remains deeply committed to identifying and selecting outstanding jurists in the mold of Justice Gorsuch," the White House said.

Kennedy is one of three justices who are 79 or older, along with liberals Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 84, and Stephen Breyer, 79.

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