WASHINGTON, D.C., May 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – On Wednesday, Donald Trump released a list of 11 judges he would consider nominating to the Supreme Court. The long-awaited list – which was vetted by the Federalist Society, the Heritage Foundation, and Senator Jeff Sessions – includes judges who have clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and William Rehnquist.
His choices include:
Judge Steven M. Colloton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit;
Judge Raymond W. Gruender of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit;
Judge Thomas M. Hardiman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit;
Judge Raymond M. Kethledge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit;
Judge William H. Pryor Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit;
Judge Diane Sykes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit;
Justice Allison H. Eid of the Colorado Supreme Court;
Justice Joan Larsen of the Michigan Supreme Court;
Associate Chief Justice Thomas Lee of the Utah Supreme Court;
Justice David Stras of the Minnesota Supreme Court; and
Justice Don Willett of the Texas Supreme Court.
“This is an exceptionally strong list of jurists with immense respect for our founding documents,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List – a factor that “stands in sharp contrast to Hillary Clinton's position.”
“There is no question Clinton would only nominate judges who stand in lock-step with the abortion lobby and would strike down even the most modest abortion limits,” she said.
Carrie Severino of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network said the judges eschew judicial activism in favor of interpreting the law as written. “This list ought to be encouraging to anyone who prioritizes the rule of law,” she said.
The Clinton campaign blasted the choices, many of them hailing from the Midwest, as insufficiently diverse.
Meanwhile, abortion lobbyists said the judges would threaten the delicate balance in favor of abortion on the closely divided court.
“Donald Trump's list of potential Supreme Court nominees is a woman’s worst nightmare,” said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “Their records reveal a lineup of individuals who would likely overturn Roe v. Wade if given the chance, gutting what's left of abortion access in this country and heaping punishment on women.”
Mr. Trump's candidacy, she said, is “driven by a misogynistic world view that would play to the basest of fears and disrupt the path to progress that our country desperately needs for women and families to thrive. With the release of this list, Donald Trump has proven once again how dangerously unfit he is to lead.”
Mrs. Clinton, who has yet to cinch the Democratic presidential nomination, had raised the issue of Supreme Court nominations before the death of Justice Scalia created a vacancy, believing that voters were more likely to trust her than a “loose cannon” like Mr. Trump.
But Dannenfelser said Clinton's extreme position on abortion makes this a losing issue for her in November. “Not only does Hillary Clinton support abortion on-demand, up until the moment of birth, she has said she wants to end the Hyde Amendment,” forcing U.S. taxpayers to pay for elective abortions. “Her proposal to end Hyde is so wildly unpopular, she would no doubt use the courts to impose her abortion ideology against the will of the majority of Americans.”
In announcing his judicial selections, Mr. Trump appeared to walk back his promise to nominate only judges who are on the list he released. In March, he said his Supreme Court nominee “will be one of those judges, and I will guarantee it personally.”
But last night he said he may nominate other judges of a similar background.
The judges on the list “are all of very high, high intellect. They're pro-life,” he told Sean Hannity on Fox News. “We're going to choose from – most likely – from this list. But at a minimum, we will keep people from this general realm.”
“This would be the list that I would either choose from or pick people very close in terms of the spirit and meaning of what they represent,” he said.
Skeptics of that promise include the ex-husband of one of the judges on his list, Wisconsin radio host Charlie Sykes, who tweeted, “I simply don't believe Trump.”
Conservative commentator Erick Erickson, a confirmed member of the “Never Trump” movement, wrote, “Every single thing Donald Trump says, everything, comes with an expiration date. Usually that expiration date comes in the next clause of the same sentence.”
But the presumptive Republican nominee's allies dismissed any concerns over the pivotal issue of judicial appointments. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said these judicial choices “should reassure most conservatives that the gap between who he would pick and who Hillary would pick is so gigantic that I don't think any reasonable conservative can do anything except try to help elect Trump in order to block Hillary from appointing a radical Supreme Court.”
Dannenfelser agreed, “The battle lines have been drawn. … This is not an election for pro-lifers to sit out.”
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood, which endorsed Clinton early this year, has joined in a nationwide effort with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Voto Latino to pressure senators to confirm Barack Obama's lame duck nominee, Judge Merrick Garland.