“With each passing disappointment, people want to make sure this is not just someone who looks conservative, but is virtually guaranteed to be conservative on the bench,” said one veteran of past GOP Supreme Court confirmation fights, Curt Levey of Freedomworks and the Committee for Justice.
The desire for a justice who is all but a sure conservative vote also seems to have limited Trump’s list to sitting judges, all with a substantial record of written decisions.
Those close to Trump’s search process say that the list now under more serious consideration is closer to a half-dozen, including Pryor and Sykes, as well as 3rd Circuit Judge Thomas Hardiman, 6th Circuit Judge Raymond Kethledge, 8th Circuit Judges Steve Colloton and Raymond Gruender, 10th Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch and Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen.
Trump released two lists of potential justices during the campaign, but most of the candidates under serious consideration are on the initial list of 11. The only two women in the current top tier, Larsen, who is only 48, and Sykes, 59, are among those who could be “held back” for a second opening.
“Going with a woman or a minority does get you some brownie points, so in terms of picking the hardest to confirm now, that would argue for a man,” Levey said. “Also the symbolic value, if Ginsburg does leave the court, of replacing her with a woman WOULD be important.”
Read more in Politico.