One of the most motivating factors for GOP voters last November was the knowledge that the next president could make several new appointments to the Supreme Court.
With the late Antonin Scalia’s seat already vacant and four of the court’s then-remaining eight members being near or over seventy years of age (Justice Thomas, 68; Justice Breyer 78; Justcie Ginsperg, 84; Justice Kennedy, 80), it was clear that the next president would seat no fewer than one — but quite likely nominate and seat two or three — justices.
Obama’s appointments of strict, left-wing ideologues Elena Kagan and Sonja Sotomayor set a pretty clear precedent for the kind of justices Hillary would likely choose. Sensing impending doom should Hillary get in, values voters in particular turned out in droves for Trump.
But in a recent interview picked up the Daily Caller, President Trump said he was more optimistic than that. In fact, he fully expects to fill four Supreme Court seats:
“President Donald Trump expects to nominate a total of four Supreme Court justices, claiming that three seats will likely become vacant during his first term, anonymous sources told Mike Allen of Axios.
Trump expects to fill the seats of Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sonia Sotomayor in addition to nominating Neil Gorsuch, who Trump nominated to fill former Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat earlier this year. Scalia died in 2016, well before Trump took office.
Rumors about Justice Kennedy’s retirement floated around SCOTUS circles this summer, and many people expect the 81-year-old to retire before the end of Trump’s first term. That would make a total of two seats for Trump to fill.
Asked by the source who the other vacancies would be, Trump said Ginsburg’s seat is likely to become vacant. “What does she weigh? 60 pounds?” Trump told the source.
Asked who the fourth vacant seat would be, Trump replied “Sotomayor,” referring to the first justice nominated by former President Barack Obama. At 63, Sotomayor is rarely mentioned as a pending vacant seat on the court.
But Trump believes that her longtime struggle with type-1 diabetes imperils her future on the court. “Her health,” Trump said. “No good. Diabetes,” Trump reportedly said.
Sotomayor has discussed her fight against diabetes and how she copes with the disease on a daily basis. “It wasn’t so bad, but it was still bad,” Sotomayor said during a meeting of diabetic children in 2011. “It was still something that I had to deal with, grow up with and figure out how to live with.”
Trump scored a big hit with conservatives with his appointment of Neil Gorsuch who is not only a strict constitutionalist but is also just 49 years old; and as we published last week, Trump is already delivering for his evangelical base in a big kind of way.
If it turns out that he does indeed end up seating four or even five SCOTUS justices before his time in office is up, Donald J. Trump will likely have affected the future direction of the nation in a way few previous president have.
[NOTE: This article was written by Derrick Wilburn, Founder and Chairman of the Rocky Mountain Black Conservatives, and a speaker, author, columnist and analyst for multiple print and broadcast media outlets. Follow him on Facebook and at RMBlackConservatives.com.]