Despite President Trump’s taunts of Joe Biden for not releasing a list of potential Supreme Court nominees, Senate Democrats say their party’s presidential nominee is better off holding back.
Trump in 2016 pioneered the practice of releasing a list of prospective Supreme Court nominees in advance, which he and his advisers credit with winning over swaths of conservative voters for whom the judiciary is a top issue. His two Supreme Court nominees to date, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, were both on versions of Trump’s list during the campaign and then once he reached the White House.
The Trump administration is taking a similar approach in finding a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal icon who died on Sept. 18. Trump is set to announce his pick on Saturday, and top contenders include jurists he’s mentioned publicly, including a pair of federal appeals court judges, Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa.
Biden has demurred from providing a list of potential Supreme Court nominees. The former Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, who oversaw several Supreme Court confirmation hearings during his 1987-95 tenure heading the panel, says the rejection of nomination norms could politicize the court and subject those on the list to unnecessary attacks.
That’s drawn scorn from Trump.
“I’m asking Sleepy Joe Biden to give me a list, and he doesn’t want to do it. You know why? Because he can only put super radical leftist judges or people that would destroy your country,” Trump said at a Moon Township, Pennsylvania, campaign rally on Tuesday.
Biden’s allies in the Senate are shrugging off Trump’s attacks on the issue and backing their candidate.
“I’m glad he didn’t. I didn’t like when the president did it because that should be the subject of the kind of deliberation that warrants review of a long list of names,” Sen. Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, told the Washington Examiner.
Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine said any person on a Biden Supreme Court list would be scrutinized unfairly before the former vice president and 36-year Delaware senator even had a chance to step into the White House as the president.
“I can see the virtues of doing that. But I think I read him saying, ‘Yeah, but if I do that, it’s just holding these people out for, you know, getting beat up before they’re nominated.’ And why would you do that?” Kaine told the Washington Examiner.
Sen. Maize Hirono, a Hawaii Democrat, preferred the Biden campaign stay focused on his election.
“Whether he releases this list or not, to me, that is not the major thing,” Hirono told the Washington Examiner. “The major thing is, people are about to get screwed on healthcare.”
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