Trump Team Screening Replacements For Justices Ginsburg, Kennedy

REUTERS/Larry Downing

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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As the incoming administration prepares to make its first appointment to the Supreme Court, aides and allies of the president-elect are compiling a list of jurists to succeed other aging members of the bench, including Justices Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Politico reports that the transition and its allies in conservative legal circles are using the current search process to identify candidates for future appointments to the high court. Unnamed transition officials told Politico the Trump team is specifically interested in flagging conservative jurists whom Democrats would struggle to demonize or oppose to succeed moderate and liberal members of the court. The official indicated the transition is particularly interested in female candidates.

“To the extent there are ways of slicing and dicing the list, you want to be sensitive to who would be best as your first, forward-looking nominee for the Scalia seat,” a transition official told Politico. “And then who are your better bets for seats that are going to be potentially more contentious.” (RELATED: Did The Chief Justice Take A Shot At Trump In His Year-End Report?)

The official also said the transition team believes Trump’s first appointment to the Supreme Court presents the best opportunity to elevate a conservative stalwart to the bench. Senate Democrats, the thinking goes, are less likely to fight relentlessly against the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement, as it will not change the ideological balance on the Court.

If true, the report suggests the two leading female candidates to succeed  Scalia, Judge Diane Sykes of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Joan Larsen of the Michigan Supreme Court, are more likely to win appointments to succeed a moderate or liberal justice later in Trump’s presidency.

Final names under consideration for the current vacancy are Sykes, Larsen, Judge William Pryor of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Thomas Hardiman of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Steven Colloton of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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