Could Donald Trump Nominate His Sister For SCOTUS?

by Stephanie Casella

Donald Trump made public his list of potential Supreme Court picks on Wednesday, May 18, in an effort to persuade more conservative members of the GOP that he would take his role as the Republican presidential nominee seriously. His older sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, is a senior judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and certainly qualified for such a role. Could Trump possibly consider nominating his older sister for a position in SCOTUS? Furthermore, would she even consider such a role if it were offered to her? Her responses to a couple of recent inquiries could hint at the answer.

On Wednesday, it was announced that Barry would not be taking part in a hearing panel for the infamous late-2013 George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal — better known as "Bridgegate." These hearings related directly to the release of a list of co-conspirators who have not yet faced indictment. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, where she sits as a senior judge, delayed the release of the list of persons on Tuesday. A hearing is scheduled for June 6. One may take Barry's likely reluctance to be involves in such high-profile cases as a sign of her personal privacy (at least these days, but not so much in the past), cautionary behavior, or even eventual plans to retire from the court.

Additionally, earlier this year, Trump said his older sister likely would not take interest in becoming a Supreme Court justice. He explained in an interview with Fox News that, "I would love to [nominate her to SCOTUS], but I think she would be the one to say, 'No way, no way.' ... She's very happy where she is, I can tell you that." He had tossed the idea around casually, however, and mentioned it during an interview in late August with Mark Halperin and John Heilemann of Bloomberg Politics.

In his very Trump manner, he stated, "I think she'd be phenomenal. ... I think she'd be one of the best. But frankly, we'd have to rule that out."

Currently, however, the nation's highest court has no seats available after the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, as Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, is the nominee slated to replace him. Perhaps Barry might reconsider if the opportunity is presented to her, but it is looking like the 79-year-old is not particularly interested in a SCOTUS seat as it currently stands.