As of Wednesday afternoon, Donald Trump has released a list of his potential picks for the Supreme Court. The list contains the names of 11 nominees, Associated Press reported. And the names are:
- Steven Colloton
- Raymond Gruender
- Allison Eid
- Thomas Hardiman
- Joan Larsen
- Raymond Kethledge
- Thomas Lee
- William Pryor
- David Stras
- Don Willett
- Diane Sykes
Trump's list comes out as President Barack Obama battles with Senate Republicans to consider his nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland. Republicans have expressed refusal to hear his nominee, stating that the decision should be left up to the next president, which now could be Trump, as he has all but secured the Republican nomination. The seat in the nation's highest court opened up in February when Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly.
Trump's release of his own nominee picks isn't just a slap in the face for Obama. It's likely a strategic attempt to make himself appear more credible to members of the Republican Party establishment who are not pleased that Trump, the total outsider, is their nominee. Think Progress reported in March that Trump was consulting with The Heritage Foundation, a well-known conservative think tank, in developing his list of Supreme Court nominees.
Trump's list, and the Republican establishment's reaction to it, could be game-changers for the nominee. It's his first concrete display of political decision-making, and our first solid indicator of something a President Trump might do. If well-received by Republicans, it could earn him backing that he hasn't managed to secure yet.
Support from his party is important for a couple reasons. First, having establishment Republicans vocally back Trump could garner the support of currently disaffected Republican voters, encouraging them to turn out to the polls in November. And, importantly, Trump is going to need the Republican Party's help to raise the money he'll need to campaign throughout the general election race.
Over the next week we'll be hearing a lot about the 11 nominees on Trump's list, learning about their political leanings and their experience. And we'll likely find out how members of the Republican Party react to Trump's choices. What we know immediately after the release of the list is that one of his picks, Justice Don Willett, was apparently not a fan of Donald Trump as of last August:
Trump's list reveal comes at a strategic time for the candidate. It remains to be seen whether it is enough to drum up broader support of his presumptive nomination among his party members.