Donald Trump released a list of right-wing judges and other conservatives he'd like to appoint to the Supreme Court. Just one problem: there are no vacant seats.
Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked the judicial system, and launched personal attacks on specific judges, but on Friday he sank to a shocking new low.
The White House press office released a bizarre list of 25 mostly male names of right-wing judges and other conservatives, including Sen. Mike Lee of Utah. The release was simply titled: "President Donald J. Trump’s Supreme Court List."
Minutes later, the White House issued a second statement: "President Donald J. Trump Announces Five Additions to Supreme Court List."
There are nine seats on the Supreme Court, and all of them are occupied. None of the justices have announced any intention to retire. And yet, Trump's bizarre statements suggest that he is already planning to fill a seat that is not available.
One year ago, President Donald J. Trump was elected to restore the rule of law and to Make the Judiciary Great Again. Following the successful confirmation of Justice Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States and the nomination of more than seventy Federal judges—including five individuals from his Supreme Court list—President Trump today announced that he is refreshing his Supreme Court list with five additional judges. President Trump will choose a nominee for a future Supreme Court vacancy, should one arise, from this updated list of 25 individuals.
The statement also says his fake nominees "were selected with input from respected conservative leaders."
To call such a move unusual is a massive understatement. But it's more than unusual — it's extremely concerning in light of comments Trump has made about current Supreme Court justices.
In October, Trump viciously attacked Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, predicting he would be able to appoint several justices to the court.
"Ginsburg," Trump said. "What does she weigh? 60 pounds?" Then he mentioned Sotomayor, saying, "Her health. No good. Diabetes."
Releasing a list of names as if they were contestants for his old reality TV show undermines the very serious and important process of lifetime appointments to the judiciary. But it also seems as if Trump is trying to publicly push at least one justice, if not more, off the bench to replace her — he has focused on the court's women in his comments — with a radical right-wing conservative who would support and uphold his agenda.
To treat this process like a game show — which conservative will Trump pick? Tune in next week! — is a disgrace to the constitutional process and to the office he holds.
But given that Trump gleefully appointed Neil Gorsuch to a seat that Senate Republicans stole, it is sadly not surprising.