Rarely are new Supreme Court justices nominated.
The lifetime appointment means a Supreme Court Justice can remain on the bench long after his initial nomination. In fact, most President’s will not live past the tenure of their appointee to the Supreme Court. The average tenure for a current Supreme Court Justice is around 20 years depending on the age of the appointee.
The decisions made by a Supreme Court judge will impact decisions that’ll affect Americans for years to come. A judge nominated by the President today is sure to be part of the most important Supreme Court cases ever.
The President first began eyeing potential nominees during his Presidential run. In an effort to reassure conservative voters the President created a list of 25 names from which one would be chosen when a Supreme Court vacancy became available.
From this list came Neil Gorsuch who filled Scalia’s vacancy. We now have another vacancy with Kennedy’s deciding to leave the bench. The next nominee will most likely come from this original list of 25 and has reportedly been whittled down to one of these four according to recent reports.
List Provided by
Amy Coney Barrett
Barrett, 46, is a former law clerk to the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. She is a graduate of Notre Dame Law School, where she was also a law professor before joining the federal bench. She is a well-known conservative whose past comments on abortion drew attention at her Senate confirmation hearing. Barrett has said she believes life begins at conception. She once called a 1992 Supreme Court decision that upheld Roe v. Wade “erroneous.” But Barrett told senators she would not let her staunch Catholic beliefs affect her legal rulings.
Hardiman, 52, attended Georgetown Law. His “blue-collar” personal story appeals to Trump: Hardiman was the first member of his family to attend college, the University of Notre Dame, and then worked his way through law school as a taxi driver. He was in the running last year for the Supreme Court seat left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. He lost to Justice Neil Gorsuch. Hardiman, who lives in Pennsylvania, is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, where he served at one time with Trump’s sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry. SCOTUSblog, which covers actions of the Supreme Court, said his opinions have shown an “originalist approach to the Second Amendment right to bear arms,” and that he “has not weighed in directly on issues relating to abortion” — two hot-button issues.
Kavanaugh, 53, earned his law degree from Yale University and was also an editor on the prestigious Yale Law Journal. He has the Ivy League credentials Trump desires but has also been a controversial judge. Former President George W. Bush nominated him to the appeals court in 2003. But Senate Democrats held up his confirmation for three years, accusing him of being a Bush political operative. As an attorney, Kavanaugh worked for the special counsel investigating former President Bill Clinton, who was eventually impeached and also worked for the Bush campaign during the 2000 presidential election recount. Kavanaugh had been a law clerk for Kennedy. His views on abortion are generally unknown, but Kavanaugh was part of a panel that signed an order last year to prevent an illegal teenage immigrant from getting an abortion.
Kethledge, 51, is a University of Michigan Law School graduate and former Kennedy law clerk who works out of an office he set up in an old barn overlooking Lake Huron in northern Michigan. The barn office has no internet connection and uses a wood stove for heat. A self-described introvert, Kethledge co-authored a book, “Lead Yourself First,” in which he talks about how some of the world’s great leaders learned from solitude and quiet. As an appeals court judge, Kethledge authored several notable opinions, including one that upheld the death penalty against a suspect who murdered a woman on federal land and a case in Ohio that questioned whether private citizens can sue the state for failing to enforce pollution controls. The judge ruled in favor of the state.
Thapar, 49, would be the first Supreme Court justice of Indian descent if he fills Kennedy’s seat. Thapar is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley law school. As a Kentucky federal judge in 2014, he sentenced an 84-year-old nun to three years in prison for breaking into a warehouse storing nuclear weapons materials and throwing blood on the walls. Thapar rejected attorneys’ calls for leniency, saying the elderly nun showed no remorse. An appeals court found the nun guilty of a lesser charge and released her. Thapar has also been an instructor and professor at several of the country’s top law schools.
Help support our efforts by becoming a TheScotusReport.com and @Scotus sponsor
TheScotusReport.com and @Scotus has launched a program to help fund our work. If just a small percentage of our reader’s chip in a few dollars we’ll be able to do more reporting on the latest updates at the Supreme Court.
was born in Buffalo, New York, January 27, 1955. He married Jane Marie Sullivan in 1996 and they have two children – Josephine and Jack. He received an A.B. from Harvard College in 1976 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1979. He served as a law clerk for Judge Henry J. Friendly of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1979–1980 and as a law clerk for then-Associate Justice William H. Rehnquist of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1980 Term. He was Special Assistant to the Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice from 1981–1982, Associate Counsel to President Ronald Reagan, White House Counsel’s Office from 1982–1986, and Principal Deputy Solicitor General, U.S. Department of Justice from 1989–1993. From 1986–1989 and 1993–2003, he practiced law in Washington, D.C. He was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2003. President George W. Bush nominated him as Chief Justice of the United States, and he took his seat September 29, 2005.
was born in the Pinpoint community near Savannah, Georgia on June 23, 1948. He attended Conception Seminary from 1967-1968 and received an A.B., cum laude, from Holy Cross College in 1971 and a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1974. He was admitted to law practice in Missouri in 1974, and served as an Assistant Attorney General of Missouri, 1974-1977; an attorney with the Monsanto Company, 1977-1979; and Legislative Assistant to Senator John Danforth, 1979-1981. From 1981–1982 he served as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, and as Chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 1982-1990. From 1990–1991, he served as a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. President Bush nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and he took his seat October 23, 1991. He married Virginia Lamp on May 30, 1987 and has one child, Jamal Adeen by a previous marriage.
was born in Brooklyn, New York, March 15, 1933. She married Martin D. Ginsburg in 1954, and has a daughter, Jane, and a son, James. She received her B.A. from Cornell University, attended Harvard Law School, and received her LL.B. from Columbia Law School. She served as a law clerk to the Honorable Edmund L. Palmieri, Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, from 1959–1961. From 1961–1963, she was a research associate and then associate director of the Columbia Law School Project on International Procedure. She was a Professor of Law at Rutgers University School of Law from 1963–1972, and Columbia Law School from 1972–1980, and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California from 1977–1978. In 1971, she was instrumental in launching the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, and served as the ACLU’s General Counsel from 1973–1980, and on the National Board of Directors from 1974–1980. She was appointed a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1980. President Clinton nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and she took her seat August 10, 1993.
was born in San Francisco, California, August 15, 1938. He married Joanna Hare in 1967, and has three children – Chloe, Nell, and Michael. He received an A.B. from Stanford University, a B.A. from Magdalen College, Oxford, and an LL.B. from Harvard Law School. He served as a law clerk to Justice Arthur Goldberg of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1964 Term, as a Special Assistant to the Assistant U.S. Attorney General for Antitrust, 1965–1967, as an Assistant Special Prosecutor of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, 1973, as Special Counsel of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, 1974–1975, and as Chief Counsel of the committee, 1979–1980. He was an Assistant Professor, Professor of Law, and Lecturer at Harvard Law School, 1967–1994, a Professor at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, 1977–1980, and a Visiting Professor at the College of Law, Sydney, Australia and at the University of Rome. From 1980–1990, he served as a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and as its Chief Judge, 1990–1994. He also served as a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States, 1990–1994, and of the United States Sentencing Commission, 1985–1989. President Clinton nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat August 3, 1994.
was born in Trenton, New Jersey, April 1, 1950. He married Martha-Ann Bomgardner in 1985, and has two children – Philip and Laura. He served as a law clerk for Leonard I. Garth of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from 1976–1977. He was Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of New Jersey, 1977–1981, Assistant to the Solicitor General, U.S. Department of Justice, 1981–1985, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, 1985–1987, and U.S. Attorney, District of New Jersey, 1987–1990. He was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in 1990. President George W. Bush nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat January 31, 2006.
was born in Bronx, New York, on June 25, 1954. She earned a B.A. in 1976 from Princeton University, graduating summa cum laude and receiving the university’s highest academic honor. In 1979, she earned a J.D. from Yale Law School where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. She served as Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office from 1979–1984. She then litigated international commercial matters in New York City at Pavia & Harcourt, where she served as an associate and then partner from 1984–1992. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush nominated her to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, and she served in that role from 1992–1998. She served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1998–2009. President Barack Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on May 26, 2009, and she assumed this role August 8, 2009.
was born in New York, New York, on April 28, 1960. She received an A.B. from Princeton in 1981, an M. Phil. from Oxford in 1983, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1986. She clerked for Judge Abner Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 1986-1987 and for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court during the 1987 Term. After briefly practicing law at a Washington, D.C. law firm, she became a law professor, first at the University of Chicago Law School and later at Harvard Law School. She also served for four years in the Clinton Administration, as Associate Counsel to the President and then as Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy. Between 2003 and 2009, she served as the Dean of Harvard Law School. In 2009, President Obama nominated her as the Solicitor General of the United States. A year later, the President nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on May 10, 2010. She took her seat on August 7, 2010.
was born in Denver, Colorado, August 29, 1967. He and his wife Louise have two daughters. He received a B.A. from Columbia University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and a D.Phil. from Oxford University. He served as a law clerk to Judge David B. Sentelle of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and as a law clerk to Justice Byron White and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the Supreme Court of the United States. From 1995–2005, he was in private practice, and from 2005–2006 he was Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice. He was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in 2006. He served on the Standing Committee on Rules for Practice and Procedure of the U.S. Judicial Conference, and as chairman of the Advisory Committee on Rules of Appellate Procedure. He taught at the University of Colorado Law School. President Donald J. Trump nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat on April 10, 2017.