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President Donald Trump has said he'll announce his choice for Supreme Court nominee this weekend, according to multiple sources. His short list includes dozens of qualified men and women, but he confirmed at a rally last week in North Carolina that he was likely to choose a woman.
Amy Coney Barrett
The early front runner on Trump's list, Barrett is a devout Catholic, mother of seven, and currently a Seventh Circuit judge. The 48 year old is a graduate of Notre Dame Law School and clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia. Like he and Kavanaugh, she is Constitutional originalist and has already said she would not bind herself to precedent, or stare decisis, which is good news for people who would like to see some bad legal precedents overturned.
If Barrett is nominated, I predict the most controversial questions will surround both her understanding of originalism and precedent, and her personal faith. In 2017 during her confirmation hearing for the Seventh Circuit, Sen. Dianne Feinstein questioned Barrett's religious beliefs repeatedly and ultimately exclaimed, "The dogma lives loudly" in Barrett.
Lagoa's name may not be as well known as Amy Coney Barrett's, but she has proven herself to be a rising star in Florida. The Columbia Law School graduate is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit—the Senate confirmed her in an astounding 80-15 vote—prior to that, Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed her to the Florida Supreme Court in 2019 "making her the first Cuban-American woman to serve the state’s highest court."
Americans may love Lagoa's personal story. According to the Sun-Sentinel, "she is the bilingual daughter of Cuban exiles who grew up in Hialeah." Some pundits think since Florida is a battleground state, her background could help with Hispanic voters. At 52, if selected, she too would be the youngest person and woman on the Supreme Court.
Allison Jones Rushing
Rushing is one of Trump's top picks and for good reason. She currently serves as a U.S. Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, a position Trump nominated her to in 2018. Despite her excellent legal credentials, she took some heat because she had previously worked for Alliance Defending Freedom, a well known legal organization which has had a bevy of Supreme Court wins in recent years. The Southern Poverty Law Center dubbed them a "hate group," thus Rushing’s nomination was somewhat contested.
Rushing graduated from Wake Forest University and then Duke University School of Law. She clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for the 2010-11 term. If confirmed, the 38 year old North Carolina native would also be the youngest person on the Supreme Court.
Pacold is another name on Trump's list that is perhaps far less known, but she possesses impressive legal chops. Currently a U.S. District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Pacold is a former deputy general counsel at the Treasury Department and served as Counsel to the Attorney General at the United States Department of Justice.
Pacold clerked for Supreme Court Justice (and probably my favorite Justice) Clarence Thomas and earned her law degree from the esteemed University of Chicago Law School.
Bridget Shelton Bade
Bade's legal chops are perhaps slightly less than Barrett or Lagoa's but she still has a strong legal record. In 2019, the Senate confirmed Bade to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a bipartisan 78-21 vote. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Martha McSally, R-Ariz., both supported her nomination. Prior to that, she served as a U.S. magistrate judge for the District of Arizona. It's unusual for a person to be bumped up from magistrate to the 9th Circuit, but that's Bade’s path.
AZ Central reports that Carl Tobias, the Williams Chair in Law at the University of Richmond School of Law, says "Bade as a 'well-respected' magistrate judge." If Bade was nominated and confirmed, she would be the third Arizonan to serve on the Supreme Court.
Pitlyk perhaps might be the most controversial name on the list, although hardly for any real sensational reason. Trump appointed her to U.S. District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, last year. Despite her education credentials, the American Bar Association deemed Pitlyk "Not Qualified" due to her lack of trial experience.
Pitlyk is well-educated, to say the least. A graduate of Boston College, she received her M.A. at Georgetown University where she was a Fullbright Scholar. She went to law school at Yale and clerked for none other than Brett Kavanaigh when he was a Judge at the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She was also special counsel at the Thomas More Society.
There's more buzz-worthy news about Pitlyk than some of these other women on the list due to her nomination to the federal court last year. Though I don't agree with just how spiteful many articles sounded about her, I do agree that she may not be the best pick for a Supreme Court Justice based on this already-existing controversy and her lack of litigation experience. If Trump wants a swift confirmation, he must pick someone with as few marks against them as possible.
Probably my least favorite pick among potential Supreme Court nominees, Kate Todd currently serves as deputy counsel to Trump—a huge strike against her during a Senate confirmation process. Before that she was chief counsel at the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center. Her education is stellar: Todd graduated from Cornell University, Harvard Law School, and clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.