Commentary: First Trump Court Pick a ‘Dress Rehearsal’ for the Next One

supreme_court_immigration_-04e32CRYSTAL BALL GAZING: Who will be President Trump’s first pick for the Supreme Court, and what’s down the road? More analysts are offering their views.

Nina Totenberg of NPR said the Trump-listed names of potential nominees “range from very conservative to very, very conservative.” She added, “And I would expect that the older ones and the younger ones will get knocked off. And the person will have a track record that attracted Trump and, therefore, will unattract a lot of Democrats and their constituencies.”

About Trump’s nomination for a justice to succeed the late Antonin Scalia, Totenberg said, “This, in some ways, is the dress rehearsal for the next nomination, which, if it happens, will make all the difference in the world.”

“Don’t buy Trump’s flip-flop on marriage equality. LGBT rights are anything but safe in his White House,” a Los Angeles Times op-ed by Nico Lang warned. Among other points, Lang noted that one of those on Trump’s potential nominee list, Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett, “once compared same-sex unions to marrying bacon.”

A blog post in The Economist said, “Two or more Trump appointments to the Supreme Court could jeopardise abortion rights,” and it noted, “It is worth reiterating that the primary role of a Supreme Court justice is to faithfully interpret the laws, not to embody an ideology or to satisfy a president’s policy wish-list. Openly treating the court’s potential occupants as mere bundles of political positions is corrosive to the rule of law and the separation of powers, two principles of American democracy for which Mr Trump has shown little regard.”

An Associated Press article was headlined, “[Supreme Court Justice Sonia] Sotomayor says nation ‘can’t afford to despair’ over Trump,” and Bloomberg BNA asked, “Trump-Era Supreme Court a Threat to Public Sector Unions?”

JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS: Could the lame-duck Senate still act on judicial nominations? In Idaho, The Spokesman-Review had an article saying, “[Sens.] Crapo, Risch standing by Judge Nye nomination, hoping for Senate vote soon.” The Oklahoman reported that Republican Sens. Jim Inhofe and James Lankford have supported two nominees for judgeships in Oklahoma City, “[a]nd they were careful this week not to declare their nominations dead” in the wake of Trump’s election.

STATE JUDICIAL ELECTIONS: The Marshall Project reported about last week’s record-breaking state Supreme Court elections, “Special interest organizations — most of which don’t have to disclose their donors under campaign finance laws — put a record $19.4 million into TV ads for judicial candidates, over half of all TV spending in these races. The Republican State Leadership Committee spent the most of any group, putting $4 million into eight different races as part of its stated effort to elect more conservative justices.” The source for the news article was an analysis from The Brennan Center for Justice on Tuesday.