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Trump Adds Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton To List Of Potential Supreme Court Picks

President Trump arrives Tuesday to talk about the environment in Jupiter, Fla.
Joe Raedle
Getty Images
President Trump arrives Tuesday to talk about the environment in Jupiter, Fla.

President Trump has released an additional 20 names he would select from if any Supreme Court vacancies arise during his remaining time in office, including the president's rival-turned-Senate ally, Ted Cruz. The list also includes Sens. Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley as well as two former U.S. solicitors general.

The president's running list, which he first compiled in 2016, already included more than a dozen conservative legal minds from across the country. With Wednesday's additions, he adds bulk to the number of justices he would choose from to bolster the court's conservative majority.

"Over the next four years, the next president will choose hundreds of federal judges and one, two, three, four Supreme Court justices," Trump said during a Wednesday press conference at the White House. He described a bleak picture if "radical left judges" were nominated under Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Trump's updated list, which includes several women and people of color, reflects the emphasis the Republican Party has to pay in its attempt to court voters more broadly outside of white, often older, reliably conservative circles.

The Wednesday list includes Daniel Cameron, the Black, conservative Kentucky attorney general who has faced criticism over his handling of the police shooting death of Breonna Taylor, which sparked nationwide protests against police brutality.

Supreme Court nominations are among the most consequential and long-lasting decisions a president can make. Justices to the highest court in the land have a lifetime appointment and are the final say in controversial decisions such as abortion rights, same-sex marriage and civilian gun ownership.

In a tweet following Trump's announcement, Hawley, one of a handful of sitting U.S. senators the president said he would choose from if the time came, declined the president's endorsement to the court.

"I appreciate the President's confidence in listing me as a potential Supreme Court nominee. But as I told the President, Missourians elected me to fight for them in the Senate, and I have no interest in the high court. I look forward to confirming constitutional conservatives," Hawley wrote.

The full list of Trump's additional picks is as follows:

Bridget Bade of Arizona, judge on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Daniel Cameron of Kentucky, that state's attorney general
Paul Clement of Virginia, former U.S. solicitor general
Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas
Stuart Kyle Duncan of Louisiana, judge on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Steven Engel of the District of Columbia, assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice
Noel Francisco, former U.S. solicitor general
Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri
James Ho of Texas, judge on the 5th Circuit
Gregory Katsas of Virginia, judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Barbara Lagoa, a judge from Florida on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Christopher Landau of Maryland, U.S. ambassador to Mexico
Carlos Muñiz of Florida, justice on the Florida Supreme Court
Martha Pacold of Illinois, judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Peter Phipps of Pennsylvania, judge on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Sarah Pitlyk of Missouri, judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
Allison Jones Rushing of North Carolina, judge on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Kate Todd of Virginia, deputy assistant to the president and deputy counsel to the president
Lawrence VanDyke of Nevada, judge on the 9th Circuit

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Alana Wise is a politics reporter on the Washington desk at NPR.