A new report from the Associated Press published Wednesday afternoon revealed a list of 11 potential Supreme Court justices Donald Trump might nominate. The list includes Steven Colloton of Iowa, Allison Eid of Colorado, Raymond Gruender of Missouri, Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania, Raymond Kethledge of Michigan, Joan Larsen of Michigan, Thomas Lee of Utah, William Pryor of Alabama, David Stras of Minnesota, Diane Sykes of Wisconsin and Don Willett of Texas.
Releasing the list was a really smart move on Trump's part. Even as the presumptive nominee, he hasn't found much support from the GOP establishment yet. However, if the Senate Republicans can rally around any of the candidates on Trump's list as a reason to further their crusade against President Obama's nominee Merrick Garland, it could win Trump major favor within Congress.
Trump originally announced that he planned to release the list in March as a way to assuage doubters of his deep conservative values, which have been called into question frequently during this race. "Some people say maybe I’ll appoint a liberal judge. I’m not appointing a liberal judge,” Trump said at a press conference in front of the construction site for the new Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Two months later, Trump fulfilled his promise, including an extra eleventh potential justice for added measure. Six of the potential justices on the list, Colloton, Gruender, Hardiman, Kethledge, Pryor, and Sykes, are currently serving as federal judges, and the four, Eid, Lee, Stras, and Willet, are currently serving on their respective state's Supreme Court. Larsen was appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court by Governor Rick Snyder last year, but has not yet been confirmed by the Michigan legislature. Yet despite her currently undetermined position, she may be the best candidate for the SCOTUS spot. Larsen actually began her career clerking for Justice Antonin Scalia, whose seat she would replace. Scalia was often considered the conservative anchor of the Supreme Court and a fierce conservative advocates, so Larsen would have big shoes to fill, but she has the advantage as the only judge on Trump's list to have worked with Scalia.
Of course, these candidates won't have their shot at SCOTUS unless Trump actually becomes president, and even after that wait, the confirmation process could take time. However, this is a serious show of confidence by Trump in his own campaign, and a sign that evidently shows his belief in the GOP's ability to hang on to the Senate after the upcoming election. If Trump is elected in November with a Republican majority in the White House, it's very likely that one of these judges will be the next Justice of the Supreme Court.