NEW YORK — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has released his complete list of potential nominees for the United States Supreme Court should he win the presidency, which includes an appeals judge who has referred to abortion as a woman’s “right,” and a judge who once prosecuted Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore while serving as attorney general.
“Today Donald J. Trump released the much-anticipated list of people he would consider as potential replacements for Justice Scalia at the United States Supreme Court,” his campaign said in a press release Wednesday afternoon. “This list was compiled, first and foremost, based on constitutional principles, with input from highly respected conservatives and Republican Party leadership.”
The list contained 11 potential nominees, including Steven Colloton, Allison Eid, Thomas Lee, William Pryor, Diane Sykes, and Don Willett.
As previously reported, Skyes wrote the majority opinion in a 2013 case that barred the state of Indiana from defunding Planned Parenthood. She was nominated to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals by then-President George W. Bush.
“The defunding law excludes Planned Parenthood from Medicaid for a reason unrelated to its fitness to provide medical services, violating its patients’ statutory right to obtain medical care from the qualified provider of their choice,” Sykes wrote.
She then stressed the court’s belief in the “right” to abortion, and advised that the state must be careful to not indirectly limit access to abortion while simultaneously withholding taxpayer funds from known abortion providers.
“It is settled law that the government’s refusal to subsidize abortion does not impermissibly burden a woman’s right to obtain an abortion,” Sykes stated. “If a ban on public funding for abortion does not directly violate the abortion right, then Indiana’s ban on other forms of public subsidy for abortion providers cannot be an unconstitutional condition that indirectly violates the right.”
Trump has stated in the past that his sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, who serves on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, would make a “phenomenal” Supreme Court justice. Barry has issued pro-abortion rulings, stating regarding a New Jersey law that “a woman’s constitutional right to obtain an abortion would be impermissibly chilled.”
“I think she’d be phenomenal,” Trump told Bloomberg in August. “I think she’d be one of the best. But frankly, we’d have to rule that out.”
Her name was not included on Wednesday’s list.
However, he did select Bill Pryor, the former attorney general of Alabama, who prosecuted Roy Moore in 2003 over his refusal to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the Alabama Supreme Court. Pryor’s comments to Moore during his trial focused more on Moore’s refusal to stop acknowledging God as chief justice.
“[Y]our understanding is that the federal court ordered that you could not acknowledge God; isn’t that right?” Pryor asked. “And if you resume your duties as chief justice after this proceeding, you will continue to acknowledge God as you have testified that you would today?”
“That’s right,” Moore replied.
“No matter what any other official says?” Pryor asked.
“Absolutely,” Moore stated. “Let me clarify that. Without an acknowledgment of God, I cannot do my duties. I must acknowledge God. It says so in the Constitution of Alabama. It says so in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. It says so in everything I have read.”
“The only point I am trying to clarify, Mr. Chief Justice, is not why, but only that, in fact, if you do resume your duties as chief justice, you will continue to do that without regard to what any other official says; isn’t that right?” Pryor asked.
As Moore continued to stand his ground, he was ordered by Pryor to be “removed from his position of Supreme Court justice of Alabama.” Moore was re-elected to serve as chief justice in 2012.
As previously reported, Trump had mentioned both Sykes and Pryor in February as potential nominees following the sudden death of Antonin Scalia.
“We could have a Diane Sykes or a Bill Pryor,” he said. “We have some fantastic people.”
Some have noted that Trump’s selection of Willett is also interesting as Willett has repeatedly criticized and mocked Trump on Twitter.
“Can’t wait till Trump rips off his face Mission Impossible-style & reveals a laughing Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” he wrote in August of last year.