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Trump Adds These 20 Names to His List of Supreme Court Candidates

President Donald Trump publicly added 20 names Wednesday to his list of candidates for the Supreme Court, including six women, three Senate Republicans, and a state attorney general. Also new to the list are prominent government lawyers who haven’t served as judges.

“Every one of these individuals will ensure equal justice, equal treatment, and equal rights for citizens of every race, color, religion, and creed,” Trump said in making the announcement at the White House. “Together, we will defend our righteous heritage and preserve our magnificent American way of life.”

For the most part, the president’s 20 new Supreme Court prospects follow the traditional pattern in which federal appeals court judges, also known as circuit judges, are considered for the high court.

Currently, all but one of the nine justices were circuit judges before being nominated to the Supreme Court. Only Justice Elena Kagan never had been a judge before.


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When running for president in 2016, Trump adopted a list of potential Supreme Court nominees from recommendations by The Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society. He has appointed two justices who were on that list: Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

“The names I know are really good people, but I’m not familiar with everyone,” John Malcolm, director of the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, told The Daily Signal. “It’s an impressive list. Not everyone was on my list, but many were.”

In his announcement of the names, Trump laid out the stakes if the high court were to shift back toward the liberal side.

“Unfortunately, there is a growing radical left movement that rejects the principle of equal treatment under the law,” Trump said, adding:

If this extreme movement is granted a majority on the Supreme Court, it will fundamentally transform America without a single vote of Congress. Radical justices will erase the Second Amendment, silence political speech and require taxpayers to fund extreme, late-term abortion.

They will give unelected bureaucrats the power to destroy millions of American jobs. They will remove the words ‘under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance. They will unilaterally declare the death penalty unconstitutional, even for the most depraved mass murderers. They will erase national borders, cripple police departments, and grant new protections to anarchists, rioters, violent criminals, and terrorists.

Here’s a look at Trump’s new contenders for the high court.

Politicians

Trump’s additions include four elected officials, which has been a rare occupation for nominees.

Former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor had been an Arizona state senator before becoming a state judge. But going from elected office directly to the Supreme Court is rare.

The most notable example is President Dwight Eisenhower’s naming of California Gov. Earl Warren as chief justice in 1953.

The politicians on Trump’s list are:

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a Republican first elected in 2019. Cameron, 34, is the state’s 51st attorney general. He was previously legal counsel to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. He earned his law degree, cum laude, from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., first elected to the House in 2014. Cotton, 43, was an Army captain who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, Cotton received his law degree from Harvard Law School.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, first elected in 2012. A former solicitor general of Texas, he has argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. A law clerk to former Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, Cruz, 49, received his law degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School.

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., elected in 2018. Hawley, 40, previously was Missouri’s attorney general and an associate professor at the University of Missouri School of Law. He also was a lawyer with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. A former clerk for Chief Justice John Roberts, Hawley received his law degree from Yale Law School.

A fourth Senate Republican, Mike Lee of Utah, was on Trump’s 2016 list.

Federal Appeals Judges

If history is a guide, one of these new names—all Trump appointees—is the most likely to become a Supreme Court justice if the president gets second term, since circuit judges tend to be the farm team for the high court.

Here are the new appeals court judges on the list:

Peter Phipps, 47, of Pennsylvania, on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals since July 2019. Phipps also served as a U.S. district judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania. He was senior trial counsel in the federal programs branch of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. He received his law degree from Stanford Law School.

Allison Jones Rushing, 38, of North Carolina, on the 4th Circuit since March 2019. She clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas and then-Judge Neil Gorsuch on the 10th Circuit. She received her law degree, magna cum laude, from Duke University School of Law.

Lawrence VanDyke, 47, of Nevada, confirmed by the Senate last December to serve on the 9th Circuit. VanDyke previously was deputy assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Justice Department. He also was solicitor general of both Nevada and Montana, defending the policies of those states before the U.S. Supreme Court. He received his law degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard.

Bridget Bade, 54, of Arizona, on the 9th Circuit since April 2019. Bade was both a U.S. magistrate judge and an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Arizona. She received her law degree, cum laude, from Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

Stuart Kyle Duncan, 48, of Louisiana, on the 5th Circuit since April 2018. Previously general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, he also argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court as solicitor general of Louisiana. He received his law degree from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University and his LL.M from Columbia University Law School.

James Ho, 47, of Texas, on the 5th Circuit since December 2017. He was solicitor general of Texas and clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas. He received his law degree with high honors from the University of Chicago Law School.

Gregory Katsas, 56, of Virginia, on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals since December 2017. Katsas was both deputy assistant and deputy counsel to the president, as well as the Justice Department’s assistant attorney general for the Civil Division. He clerked for Thomas both at the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He received his law degree, cum laude, from Harvard.

Barbara Lagoa, 52, of Florida, on the 11th Circuit since December 2019. Previously a justice on the Supreme Court of Florida, she also was an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Lagoa received her law degree from Columbia.

Other Government Officials

Former Chief Justice William Rehnquist, like Kagan, was solicitor general of the United States—the No. 4 official at the Justice Department—before ascending to the high court.

Trump’s new candidates include these top-ranking government lawyers and officials:

Paul Clement, 54, of Virginia, U.S. solicitor general during the George W. Bush administration from 2005 through 2008, when he argued more than 100 cases before the high court. He previously clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia and received his law degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard.

Steven Engel, 46, of Washington, D.C., assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which advises the president, since November 2017. He previously was deputy assistant attorney general in that office.  A former clerk for Justice Anthony Kennedy, he received his law degree from Yale.

Noel Francisco, 51, solicitor general from September 2017 to July 2020. He previously served in the Office of Legal Counsel as deputy assistant attorney general and as associate counsel to the president. A former clerk for Scalia, he received his law degree with high honors from the University of Chicago.

Christopher Landau, 56, of Maryland, U.S. ambassador to Mexico since August 2019. Landau clerked for Scalia and for Thomas, both at the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He received his law degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard.

Kate Todd of Virginia, former deputy assistant and deputy counsel to President George W. Bush. She clerked for Thomas and received her law degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard.

Federal District Judges

District judges rarely are appointed to the Supreme Court, but two Trump appointees made his expanded list.

Martha Pacold, 41, on the bench of the Northern District of Illinois since August 2019. She previously was deputy general counsel of the Treasury Department. A former clerk to Thomas at the Supreme Court, she received her law degree with honors from the University of Chicago.

Sarah Pitlyk, 43, on the bench of the Eastern District of Missouri since December 2019. Previously special counsel at the Thomas More Society, she clerked for Kavanaugh at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  She received her law degree from Yale Law.

State Supreme Court Justice

O’Connor served as an Arizona state judge before President Ronald Reagan nominated her in July 1981 to become the high court’s first female justice.

Trump’s new list includes one state Supreme Court justice: Carlos Muniz, 51, of the Florida Supreme Court, appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in January 2019.

Muniz previously was general counsel to the U.S. Department of Education and served in various positions in Florida state government, including as deputy attorney general and chief of staff to then-Attorney General Pam Bondi. He received his law degree from Yale.

COLUMN BY

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is chief national affairs correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Abuse of Power: Inside The Three-Year Campaign to Impeach Donald Trump.” Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Is the North Korean Satellite Launch a Game Changer?

FoxNews reported these developments following the success of North Korea’s satellite launching confirmed by the Pentagon:

We’ve been able to determine that they were able to put a satellite or some space device into orbit,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said.

He said the Pentagon will, in light of this, begin “formal consultations” with South Korea over improvements to their own missile defense systems.

“We’d like to see this move as quickly as possible, but we’re beginning the consultations now in the coming days with the South Koreans and we expect that this will move in an expeditious fashion,” Cook said.

The U.S. and other world powers have condemned the launch of a long-range rocket, describing it as a banned test of ballistic missile technology.

At an emergency meeting Sunday of the U.N. Security Council which includes the U.S., all 15 council members approved a statement condemning the launch and pledging to “expeditiously” adopt a new resolution with “significant” new sanctions.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power said a new U.N. resolution targeting North Korea over its rocket launch and recent nuclear test must be adopted very quickly and include “unprecedented measures” that its leader, Kim Jong Un, doesn’t expect.

The United States and China have been trying to agree on a new sanctions resolution since North Korea conducted a nuclear test on Jan. 6.

Gordon Chang in a Fox News interview said the North Korean satellite launch is something to worry about. Chang is a veteran North Korea and China analyst, Forbes columnist  author of Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On the World.  He said the Hermit State “demonstrated the mastery of missile technology.” He was referring to the three stage Unha-3 space vehicle launcher (SLV) that successfully placed a satellite in orbit. Chang further commented that the North Koreans demonstrated they have the means to successfully develop a true ICBM. An ICBM  , as we wrote in an NER/Iconoclast post, yesterday, that  both North Korea and its ready customer Iran could use at attack both coasts of this country. Where yesterday, we posted the news of the North Korean satellite launch with the question“is this a game changer?”  Chang’s comments and the reaction from the Obama White House suggest maybe it is.  US UN Ambassador Samantha Power, called it a missile launch because the SVL and a true ICBM she shared the same technology. That meant in the Administration’s view the successful satellite launch violated UN sanctions against missile testing. However, given the track record will the UN Security Council do anything about this latest North Korean action?

Chang holds that sanctions don’t work with North Korea. Instead He suggested that we might control the aid to North Korea endeavoring to separate the people from the autocratic ruling Kim family. He also suggested that South Korea move 143 companies out of the Kaesong industrial shared with North Korea.  He noted that after the January 6, 2016 nuclear test, no further sanctions were proposed at the UN because China would effectively block them. China he pointed out does a fair amount of banking with North Korea.

The success of the North Korean orbit prompted GOP hopeful Texas Senator Cruz at Saturday night’s to raise the question of whether we should pre-emptive attack North Korea’s missile launches.  Ironic, as this proposal was suggested by the current Administration Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and former Clinton Pentagon Chief William Perry, a decade ago.

DS-north-korea-13000-km-769x1024

The Administration is scrambling now that the Pentagon confirmed that the North Koreans successfully launched a satellite. Launched in a southerly direction, the 200kg.observational satellite is in polar orbit. That means it passes over the US every 95 minutes, perhaps providing imagery and GPS coordinates for possible later use. Yesterday, it missed the window of opportunity, by an hour, to pass over the stadium for 50th Super Bowl Championship game with tens of thousands of fans intent on watching the Denver Broncos beat the North Carolina Panthers for the title.

The Pentagon is talking about providing South Korea with Theater High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) system to complete the shorter range missile defense umbrella that the Republic of Korea has in place.

As we said on the Sunday Lisa Benson Show yesterday “it’s great that the U.S. has THAAD and ship borne X band radar floating in the Pacific and both ship and shore based Aegis installations in Eastern Europe (Romania) protecting us from missiles fired towards the East Coast. However, we have nothing in place to provide missile defense our vulnerable Gulf of Mexico coast.”  Ambassador Hank Cooper, the Reagan era SDI chief, warned about the absence of Aegis missile defense installations on our Gulf coast in November 2015 and most recently in a Feb.2, 2016 High Frontier alert. He argues that that our ballistic missile defense shield  on the Gulf coast lacks  the means  to combat the threat of a possible North Korean bomb in a satellite (Fractal Orbital Bomb) or missiles launched from either ships in the Gulf or those silos that allegedly Iran has been building in the Paraguana Peninsula in Venezuela. Ex- CIA director R. James Woolsey and Dr. Peter Pry discussed  in a July 2015 article the threat from FOBS that could trigger an Electronic Magnetic Pulse (EMP) effect over the US sending us back to the dark ages of the 19th Century before the advent of electricity.

This issue came up in the ABC GOP New Hampshire debates, Saturday night. Sen. Cruz raised the matter of a preemptive attack against a future North Korean ICBM launch during those debates. We may have had a hand in prompting it. A twitter rally was held last week by the Nation Security Task Force of America (NSTFA) of the Lisa Benson Show on the missile defense issue. The twitter rally sent out messages at the rate of 400 an hour, one of which caught the attention of a South Carolinian with a close connection to the Senator’s campaign staff. Another NSTFA twitter rally is on deck this Thursday night on the same issue.

The irony is the preemptive attack proposal originated a decade ago in 2006 in a Time Magazine article co authored by then Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, now Pentagon Chief and former Clinton Pentagon chief William Perry. Four nuclear and several space launches and missile tests later, we have a President whose response is to hold more UN sanctions talks with China at the UN that North Korea continually violates.

Meanwhile the North Korean satellite launch coupled with the January 6, 2016 nuclear test exposes the vulnerability of the US to possible missile attack by rogue regimes like North Korea and ally Iran. The lack of a Ballistic Missile Defense demonstrated by this latest successful North Korean satellite launch now vaults the issue to the top of national security issues along with Islamic terrorism for serious discussion in the 2016 Presidential campaign.

Watch, the Fox News report with the Chang interview:

RELATED ARTICLE: In One Graphic, What Countries North Korea’s New Missile Could Hit

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Senator Ted Cruz: Syrian refugee flow a national security threat

2016 Presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz has joined Donald Trump and Ben Carson* in expressing alarm about the Obama Administration plans to begin a large scale movement of Syrian (mostly Muslim) refugees to your towns and cities.  However, he has gone one step further and has written to key players in the decision-making process and wants answers to many of the questions we have.

Ted Cruz serious

Cruz: Taxpayer dollars should not be spent to import terrorism.

Remember that the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest will be holding a hearing on the Obama Administration’s Determination for FY 2016 that has as of this writing declared that we would be taking 10,000 (or more) Syrians to become permanent residents and ultimately citizens of the US starting a week from today.  Senator Cruz is a member of that subcommittee.

Here is his press release yesterday on the matter:

Sen. Cruz: The Refugee Flow Out of Syria Must Be Treated as a National Security Risk

Sends letter to department heads requesting information on policies admitting Syrian refugees to the U.S.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, Secretary of State John Kerry, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey. In his letter, Sen. Cruz acknowledges the need to address the humanitarian crisis in the region, but also shares grave concerns regarding the Administration’s intent to import tens of thousands of individuals from Syria and elsewhere who have not been properly vetted for ties to ISIS, al Qaeda, al Nusra and other radical Islamic terrorist groups.

“In the current threat environment – with an Administration that seems more intent on responding to the interests of the world than the needs of the American people – Congress has an obligation to be vocal and, if necessary, resist this effort. To be clear, this has nothing to do with immigration policy and everything to do with national security. Congress needs much more information before we can allow the United States to engage in a process that could wind up spending taxpayer dollars to import terrorism, much less fund that process,” Sen. Cruz wrote.

I urge all of you to read his 6-page letter addressed to Secretary of State John Kerry and to the heads of the Justice Department, Homeland Security Department and the FBI seeking detailed information on how this decision was made and especially on the security screening practices used that would assure the safety of the American people.

I’m going to be checking to see if the Senate hearing, a week from today, will be live-screened and will let you know.

Get involved!

Is your US Senator on the Subcommittee?  Go here and have a look. If so, you need to express your concern about Obama’s plan which could see your town (go here for cities that have already begun receiving mostly Muslim Syrians) become a resettlement site for refugees from the Middle East.  By the way, see Daniel Greenfield yesterday—best way to assure we don’t get terrorists, halt Muslim immigration to America!

And, don’t forget the on-going grassroots campaign, here, to halt funds in the CR (Continuing Resolution) for the resettlement of Syrian refugees.

*Does anyone know of any other 2016 Presidential candidates besides Trump, Carson and Cruz who have made their position clear on NOT admitting (or going cautiously on admitting) Syrian refugees at this time?