TRUMP NARROWS LIST AHEAD OF “POTENTIALLY NASTY” SCOTUS FIGHT: A Fortune article today listed the top five contenders for the empty Supreme Court seat as Judges William Pryor Jr., Neil Gorsuch, Diane Sykes, Raymond Kethledge, and David Stras. “Sykes is now the overall favorite for two reasons,” reported Fortune. “First, unlike all the current Supreme Court Justices who all went to Yale or Harvard, she did not attend an elite coastal law school—a good thing for her because many Trump supporters want a Justice who is not from the Ivy League. Second, if Trump indeed wants to get someone on the court quickly, Sykes would face an easier confirmation than Pryor Jr.”
Trump met with Pryor on Saturday, and has hinted “he had two favorites on the list of 21, Pryor and Sykes, although there is no indication that he’s made a final decision,” according to The Washington Times.
Both Democrats and Republicans are gearing up for a tough Supreme Court confirmation fight. Reuters reported that the Judicial Crisis Network “has said it will spend at least $10 million on advertising and grassroots efforts to pressure Senate Democrats to back Trump’s nominee.” Nan Aron, president of Alliance for Justice Action Campaign and our sister organization Alliance for Justice, said the high level of public interest in the vacancy will counter the “deep pockets” of the other side.
“I don’t think we’ll need $10 million given the outcry expressed already,” said Aron.
CALLS CONTINUE FOR SESSIONS’ RECUSAL, REJECTION: “Democrats are demanding that Sessions, Donald Trump’s pick to serve as attorney general, abstain from confirmation votes as long as he remains in the Senate — arguing that he shouldn’t be voting for Cabinet officials he will have to oversee as the nation’s top law enforcement official,” Politico reported. Sessions has previously indicated that he will recuse himself from voting on his own confirmation as Attorney General, but a “Sessions spokeswoman declined to respond to questions on whether he could vote for other nominees.”
Six state attorneys general have sent a letter urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject Sessions’ nomination for attorney general. According to the Associated Press, the “prosecutors said they had ‘grave concern’ that Sessions would ‘diligently and fairly enforce all laws protective of civil rights, public safety, health and welfare.’” Their letter echoes statements made by Democratic senators who have previously stated their intention to reject Sessions.