I hope I don’t sound too much like a convert/fanboy, but Donald Trump’s list of 11 potential Supreme Court nominees is a damn good list — not perfect, but damn good. And releasing it is a big, ballsy move. Most GOP wannabes just make vague assurances about nominating someone “in the mold of Antonin Scalia,” but Trump has gone and named names.
• Steven Colloton of Iowa
• Allison Eid of Colorado
• Raymond Gruender of Missouri
• Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania
• Raymond Kethledge of Michigan
• Joan Larsen of Michigan
• Thomas Lee of Utah
• William Pryor of Alabama
• David Stras of Minnesota
• Diane Sykes of Wisconsin
• Don Willett of Texas.
I don’t know all of these names, but apparently the Heritage Foundation had a leading role (or perhaps the role) in selecting them. Thomas Lee, I’m delighted to report, is the brother of Utah Senator Mike Lee — perhaps the Senate’s brightest and most forthright conservative thinker.
Best of all? Trump has — and this is the one thing I love about him, even when I’m hating him — pissed off all the right people. You can easily picture Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern squirming in his seat as he wrote:
These are judges who think the First Amendment protects a religious group’s right to discriminate against gays, and plutocrats’ right to buy elections, but not the free speech of students or abortion doctors. Down the line, they view the Second Amendment as near-absolute. They don’t like economic regulation, abortion, or contraception, but they don’t mind stringent voting restrictions. Oh, and they are all absolutely brilliant.
The Guardian’s Scott Lemieux frets that “Trump’s inability to identify a single person of color he considers qualified to be a supreme court justice is telling.” The fact that Lemieux is whiter than I am shouldn’t be held against him, however. And over at Think “Progress,” Ian Millhiser is all aflutter because Trump’s list represents “[Iowa Senator Chuck] Grassley’s best shot at regaining the majority he needs to implement Republican policy through litigation.”
Isn’t that just rich coming from the lawfare-happy progressive left?
Anyhoo — don’t let all that get you too excited just yet.
Trump is a big fan of the yuge “opening position” — staking out an impossible starting point for negotiations, in order to bring the other side (AKA the “mark” or “sucker”) closer to where he really wants to be.
A 45% tariff on Chinese goods? Even Trump knows that’s not going to happen, and admitted as much, even before sending a trade delegation to China. We know he’s bluffing, and so does Beijing. Reducing taxes on the rich? Even Trump knows that’s not going to happen, and he admitted as much, even before beginning negotiations with Congress. We know he’s bluffing, and so do the Democrats in Congress. And rumors — so far, only rumors — just won’t stop swirling that Trump has already told the New York Times editorial board that he’s bluffing on immigration. But it is an established fact, not rumor, that in the past Trump supported the dreaded “path to citizenship” and criticized Mitt Romney in 2012 for being “mean-spirited” on immigration. Punishing women for having an abortion? Yes, no, maybe. Trump will break torture laws, except that he won’t.
I could go on, but you get the idea.
So you might read his Heritage-approved list of SCOTUS picks with nodding approval, but in the back of your mind you have to think, “Who knows who he’ll really pick.”
I’ll repeat: This is a damn good list. But I don’t want to wake up sometime after January 20, 2017, to find out that I was the sucker, that we were all just Trump’s marks.