President Trump is throwing down the gauntlet in the 2020 campaign. On Wednesday he added 20 names to his famous Supreme Court shortlist, and he has issued a challenge to Joe Biden to release his own list.
The president made a similar move in the 2016 contest, naming two lists of potential justices and challenging Hillary Clinton to do the same. This time, his list includes some well-known names, including three prominent GOP senators.
Senators Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, and Josh Hawley made the list, along with several judges whom Trump has appointed to lower courts and former solicitor general Noel Francisco. Each senator expressed his gratitude for making the list.
Naturally, this move on the president’s part is intended to shore up support with his base, much as his original lists did four years ago. However, neither of the justices he has appointed to the court as president appeared on either of his original 2016 lists.
For his part, Biden hasn’t released a similar list, but he has promised to check a demographic box. The former vice president pledged to nominate a black woman to the court the first chance he gets.
President Trump has pledged to fill openings on the court in his second term with judges who will protect Americans of all stripes. As CNBC reports:
“Every one of these individuals will ensure equal justice, equal treatment and equal rights for citizens of every race, color, religion and creed,” Trump said at a press conference announcing the names. “Together we will defend our righteous heritage and preserve our magnificent American way of life.”
He promised to released a list some time in September, but this release comes the same week as the potentially damaging assertions from legendary journalist Bob Woodward that the president underplayed the danger of COVID-19 at the onset of the pandemic.
Is a new Supreme Court shortlist enough to undo any damage that Woodward may have caused to the campaign? Does this list of names even matter if he might not even choose from it when a seat on the court opens up?
I personally don’t think the shortlist matters all that much because I tend to believe that by now most people have made up their minds who to vote for. Trump and Biden are aiming for a small segment of voters who haven’t decided yet. A shortlist of Supreme Court nominees isn’t likely to make a difference to them.
No matter what, congratulations to those on the list.