Donald Trump Just Released His List of Supreme Court Nominees

May 18th 2016

Alex Mierjeski

On Wednesday, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump released his list of potential nominees to fill the empty seat on the United States Supreme Court, according to the Associated Press.

In the lead-up to the list's release, Trump's impending picks worried some Republicans who feared his nominees' temperaments would too closely match the businessman's divisive brand of politics. There was even speculation that President Obama's pick, Merrick Garland — whose confirmation hearing has been blocked by congressional Republicans — would be confirmed.

The empty seat was held by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a reliably conservative member of the court who died in February.

Here's Trump's list, according to the AP:

"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."

The nominees' records will likely be scrutinized in the coming days, but here are five interesting things to note about Trump's list off-the-bat.

1. All of them are white.

Many on social media quickly pointed out that all of Trump's nominations were white. Diversity on the court has been a heated topic of discussion in recent years, and some argue that a more diverse make-up would bolster the court's ability to "understand how their decisions affect everyday Americans," as Maryland Senator Benjamin Cardin (D) argued. "The courts are often the last resort for women and minorities who are seeking justice and protection from the government or special interests," he wrote in a 2010 article.

2. Most of them are men.

It's not only racial diversity that many say is lacking on the Supreme Court — there's a gender discrepancy, too. The current line up counts three women among the nine (or eight as it stands right now) Justices. That makes only four out of the 112 Justices to ever serve on the high court, according to the National Women's Law Center.

Trump's list included three women, but considering the court's slanted gender makeup — and an era of important legal battles over women's health — that was not enough to satisfy observers.

3. It could lead to at least one family feud.

Trump included Thomas Lee of the Utah Supreme Court. Just last week, Lee's brother, Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee, said that he was not ready to endorse Trump. "I have some concerns with him," he told the Washington Examiner. "He scares me to death," Lee added.

Last month, prominent conservatives lobbied Trump to nominate Sen. Mike Lee, the Washington Post reported.

4. One nominee has mocked him on Twitter

Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett — famous for his presence on Twitter — has in the past thrown light jabs at Trump online.

5. Trump's picks might actually put Republican's concerns at ease.

At a time when Trump's conservatism has been a subject of deep debate and concern among Republican party representatives, his nominee list — released in part to quiet such concern — could actually assuage party leaders' fears.

Speaking to CNN, Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director for the Judicial Crisis Network — a conservative group behind a well-funded campaign to block Garland's nomination — said:

"The names on this list would need to be vetted, obviously, but they all seem to share in common a record of putting the law and the Constitution ahead of their political preferences," she said, adding that the "court needs more justices who will base their decisions on the law, not politics, even under pressure, especially since the next president is likely to determine the direction of the court for a generation." — Carrie Severino