With President Trump’s announcement that he will “mostly likely” nominate a woman to fill the just-deceased Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg’s seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, one name is not merely on the shortlist, it is practically dominating discussion on the matter: Amy Coney Barrett.
The case for Barrett is obvious. She boasts an impeccable conservative legal movement pedigree, clerking for two of the greatest conservative jurists of their generation, Judge Laurence Silberman and Justice Antonin Scalia. From her chair at Notre Dame Law School, where she was once valedictorian and executive editor of the law review, Professor Barrett became a hero in conservative and Catholic legal circles.
Since President Trump appointed her to the Seventh Circuit three years ago, Barrett has only added to her strong reputation on the issues that matter. She wrote for the majority in Doe v. Purdue University, a landmark case decided in favor a young man subjected to the Kafkaesque horrors of a due process-free sexual assault tribunal at a public university. She demonstrated an expansive and originalist view of Second Amendment rights in her Kanter v. Barr dissent. Barrett has also finally weighed in on the all-important issue of immigration, and her dissent in Cook County v. Wolf shows she is on the right side, seeking to enforce the clear original meaning of prohibition on immigrants likely to become “public charges” on welfare.
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But what excites some conservatives about Judge Barrett could also be her downfall. Nominating a larger than life figure like the photogenic, ardently pro-life, Catholic mother of seven — including two adopted from Haiti — will immediately put Barrett (and abortion, and birth control) on the ballot in November. Her life and her work might prove easy to manipulate into a caricature of everything the left has convinced suburbanites, and young women especially, to fear about conservatives — no doubt aided by her membership in a Charismatic Christian group with female members dubbed “handmaidens.” Anyone who remembers the fight to get Justice Brett Kavanaugh confirmed knows how ugly things could get, and the president may not be able to afford Judge Barrett as a de facto running mate less than 50 days before the election.
Judge Bridget Shelton Bade of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
In contrast to the incessant buzz around Amy Coney Barrett, Judge Bade’s membership on the Supreme Court shortlist is flying completely under the radar. Nevertheless, sources familiar with the deliberations confirm that the former federal prosecutor Bade is being actively considered.
America Firsters should rejoice in that news, because in her mere year and a half on the bench in the still overwhelmingly liberal and activist “Notorious Ninth,” Judge Bade has amassed one of the most impressive pro-American records on immigration in the entire federal judiciary. Last month, Bade was the sole dissenter in a case, Vo v. Barr, where the Ninth Circuit made it substantially easier for asylum seekers to get a second bite at the apple after their claims of persecution are found to be bogus. She was again the sole dissenting voice in this month’s Gonzalez v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, where the Ninth Circuit dramatically curtailed ICE’s “detainer” system that keeps people arrested for crimes and suspected of being in the country illegally in jail for a few days while ICE agents investigate.
What’s more, Judge Bade has thus far not courted the controversy that Barrett and many other of President Trump’s judicial nominees have. She was confirmed to the Ninth Circuit last year by a vote of 78-21 in the same Senate that would vote on her if she were nominated now.
Judge Allison Eid of the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
Judge Eid is another dark horse candidate with strong conservative credentials going back to her days as a young speechwriter for Secretary of Education William Bennett in the Reagan administration, before attending the University of Chicago Law School. She has more judicial experience than most of the other shortlisters, having served 11 years on the Colorado Supreme Court before President Trump appointed her to the Tenth Circuit in 2017. During that time, she developed a very good reputation among immigration hawks and law and order patriots in Colorado.
A representative case is her 2017 dissent in Fuentes-Espinoza v. People that would have preserved Colorado’s tough anti-human smuggling law that allowed the state to help the federal government combat “coyotes” bringing illegal aliens into Colorado.
Judge Allison Rushing of the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
If President Trump wants to throw caution to the wind and go for the pure realpolitik play, it’s difficult to imagine him going harder than nominating Judge Allison Rushing. At 38, she would be the youngest Supreme Court nominee since the 19th Century, and like Judge Barrett, she has the potential to uphold the Constitution of our founders for decades to come. She served as executive editor of the Duke Law Journal and clerked with Justice Neil Gorsuch when he served on the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
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Rushing has been a federal judge barely 18 months, and her record there is scant. Her bone fides come from her time as a law school intern for the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Christian public interest law-firm. Since her time there, the left-wing attack group “Southern Poverty Law Center” has labeled the ADF a “hate group” because of their effectiveness in opposing the left’s totalitarian agenda. Despite her own rising professional star, she never backed down. She never “disavowed.” She never apologized. And she became a federal judge over the media’s hysterical pearl clutching about her “links to hate groups.”
Judge Neomi Rao of the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
Judge Neomi Rao is also a neophyte on the federal bench, joining the all-important D.C. Circuit at the same time Rushing took her seat on the Fourth. The Yale undergrad and University of Chicago Law grad could become the first Asian-American on the Supreme Court. Rao is the American-born descendant of Indian Parsis, the Zoroastrian peoples who fled medieval Iran after the Muslim conquests of Persia.
Rao served on President Trump’s transition team and headed his Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, an important office that played a key role in the early Trump administration’s success in reining in regulations across the federal agencies. The greatest case for her nomination, however, comes from her decidedly “redpilled” writings from her college days, when she took campus feminists and multicultural race hustlers to task for their nonsense.
“The multiculturalists are not simply after political reform. Underneath their touchy-feely talk of tolerance, they seek to undermine American culture,” she wrote in one incredibly prescient Washington Times piece from 1994. “They argue that culture, society and politics have been defined—and presumably defiled—by white, male heterosexuals hostile to their way of life.”
She went on, writing, “So-called conforming blacks are called ‘oreos’ by members of their own community, conservatives become ‘fascists.’ Preaching tolerance, multiculturalists seldom practice it.”
Twenty-six years later as President Trump recognizes that the same people Rao was decrying now seek to shape our history and our children’s curricula, he may decide that her brand of no-nonsense truth-telling belongs in some Supreme Court opinions.
Judge Barbara Lagoa of the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
Ted Cruz isn’t the only Cuban American with potential to some day wind up on the highest court in the land. Judge Barbara Lagoa might only have served these last 10 months on the Eleventh Circuit, but she’s been an appellate judge in Florida since 2006, eventually sitting on the Florida Supreme Court. Her nomination could play well in her ultimate battleground state, where the Miami-Cuban community from which she hails could again prove pivotal.
Unlike some of the other potential nominees, Lagoa has a significant record behind her, and it’s generally quite good. Just last week, for example, she was one of the deciding votes that limited Florida Republicans’ incredibly ill-advised decision to allow a referendum on permitting felons to vote. Thanks to her, thousands of Florida felons that haven’t even paid the fines they were ordered to as part of their sentences will not be voting against President Trump on November 3rd. She also recently joined in an opinion limiting illegal aliens’ ability to tie up the courts with appeals after they are given an order of removal.
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As a young lawyer, Lagoa worked pro bono as part of large team representing Elián González’s American family’s fight to keep him in this country, which is…complicated and whatever you make of it.
Paul Clement, Former Solicitor General of the United States
On the off-chance President Trump decides not to go with a woman, recent addition to the shortlist Paul Clement makes an interesting case for being “the Right’s Ginsburg.” For the last four years of the George W. Bush administration, he was the U.S. government’s senior litigator. Since then, he’s fashioned himself into the legal right arm of the American right, arguing more cases before the U.S. Supreme Court than any other man this century.
When House Republicans needed someone to defend traditional, one-man, one-woman marriage after the Obama administration refused to follow the law, they called Paul Clement. When the National Rifle Association needed an advocate to convince the Supremes to incorporate the Second Amendment as an individual right against the states in MacDonald v. Chicago, they called Paul Clement. When 26 states challenged Obamacare’s “individual mandate,” it was Paul Clement that won the day for them. Most importantly in the Trump-era, when Arizona passed SB1070, the toughest state anti-illegal immigration law in history and the forerunner of the popular anger with our open borders that swept Donald Trump to power, it was Paul Clement who defended the law at the Supreme Court. Clement may never have been a judge, but perhaps he’ll get another call to head over to the Supreme Court from President Trump.
If Revolver News were advising the President, we would suggest Judge Bridget Bade as our first choice, being the most confirmable conservative Judge. We tip our hats as well to Judge Rushing as an eminently qualified conservative jurist whose age at 38 might pose additional unwanted confirmation difficulties, assuming the Administration’s preference is to confirm before the election on November 3rd.
Most importantly, we think that every single person on this list would be a worthy addition to the Supreme Court, and Revolver looks forward to battling in the arena on behalf of whomever President Trump decides is the best pick for this important role in shaping the destiny of our great nation.
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