Whoever wins the presidency will effectively choose the replacement for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Barack Obama has nominated Merrick Garland, who has a reputation for being a moderate. That was a strategic pick, as a far-left judge wouldn’t have any chance of being confirmed whatsoever, and it would be better for him to have a moderate elected than no one at all to hedge against a Trump presidency.
Meanwhile, Republicans have delayed holding a hearing for his nomination. Since Hillary is bound to nominate a candidate to the left of Garland in the event of her presidency, Republicans would likely nominate Garland in a heartbeat if Hillary wins in November.
The potential shortlist for possible Hillary Supreme Court nominees include Judge Sri Srinivasan (D.C. Cir.), Judge Jane Kelly (8th Cir.), Judge Paul Watford (9th Cir.), Judge Jacqueline Nguyen (9th Cir.), Justice Goodwin Liu (California Supreme Court), Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar (California Supreme Court), Judge Lucy H. Koh (N.D. Cal.), Judge Patricia Millett (D.C. Cir.), Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Senator Cory Booker (D.-N.J.).
As for Donald Trump, Donald Trump released a list of his eleven potential nominees back in May. The top picks included conservative federal and state judges like Steven Colloton of Iowa, Allison Eid of Colorado and Raymond Gruender of Missouri. Some other names that made his list were Thomas Hardiman, Raymond Kethledge, Joan Larsen, Thomas Lee, William Pryor, David Stras, Diane Sykes and Don Willett.
Now, rumors are swirling that a fellow billionaire may be at the top of the list — who, if he were to be nominated and confirmed — would also be the first openly gay member of the Supreme Court.
Via The Huffington Post:
Donald Trump has made it clear he will nominate Peter Thiel to the Supreme Court if he wins the presidency, Thiel has told friends, according to a source close to the PayPal co-founder.
Trump “deeply loves Peter Thiel,” and people in the real estate mogul’s inner circle are talking about Thiel as a Supreme Court nominee, a separate source close to Trump told The Huffington Post. That source, who has not spoken to Trump directly about Thiel being nominated to the Court, cautioned that Trump’s offers often fail to materialize in real life.
It’s not clear whether Trump has indeed offered to nominate Thiel ― only that Thiel has said Trump would nominate him and that Trump’s team has discussed Thiel as a possible nominee. Both sources requested anonymity, given that Trump and Thiel have each demonstrated a willingness to seek revenge against parties they feel have wronged them. In Thiel’s case, he secretly financed lawsuits against Gawker.com with the intention of destroying the publication. He succeeded, and his role in the assault was only revealed in the final stages.
Only the Huffington Post would think that destroying Gawker is a bad thing.
Meanwhile, both the Trump camp and Thiel’s spokesman deny this.
Trump’s press secretary, Hope Hicks, denied that Thiel had been offered a seat on the Supreme Court or that the campaign was discussing the idea. “There is absolutely no truth to this whatsoever,” she told HuffPost.
“Peter hasn’t had any conversations about a Supreme Court nomination and has no interest in the job,” said Thiel spokesman Jeremiah Hall.
If he were to be nominated and confirmed, he would be the first openly gay member of the Court.
A gay tech billionaire who supports marriage equality, Thiel is a self-described libertarian and pursues quixotic projects like government-free sea colonies and infinite life extension. He would be a radical departure from the nominees on Trump’s list, but his nomination would be in keeping with Trump’s willingness to make unorthodox, contradictory decisions.
Of course, Thiel’s association with Trump also poses a problem for liberals who want to paint Trump — and Republicans in general — as a hateful, homophobic bigots (along with all the other hates of which they accuse Trump). You may recall Thiel rocked the house at the Republican National Convention with his speech declaring, among other things:
“I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican. But most of all I am proud to be an American.”
Nope, Democrats don’t have a lock on the gay vote — nor should they, given their furtherance of so many clearly anti-gay groups.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]