President Donald Trump has issued four lists of potential Supreme Court nominees, the most recent one earlier this month. Here is a look at some of the leading candidates on those lists.
Amy Coney Barrett
Barrett, a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, is the likely front-runner for the job as Republicans see advantages in replacing Ginsburg with a woman. A former law professor at Notre Dame, Barrett has a rock-star reputation in conservative circles. Her devout Catholicism prompted tough questioning by Democrats at her confirmation hearing in 2017. Her interview with Trump in 2018 for a seat on the Supreme Court was said to have not gone well.
A member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the first federal judge of South Asian descent, Thapar was also the first appeals court candidate nominated by Trump after he picked Justice Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court. Thapar is a Kentuckian and a personal favorite of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who carries a lot of sway in this process.
A member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit since 2008, Kethledge is considered a strong adherent of a strict interpretation of the Constitution, but he is not considered the sort of flashy choice Trump likes to see in high-profile judicial nominations. Kethledge was put on the court by President George W. Bush after political infighting with Michigan Democrats caused another candidate to be filibustered. He was considered seriously for the vacancy caused by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February 2016.
Ho sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and is a former clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas. Born in Taiwan, he is a new addition to Trump’s list of candidates for the Supreme Court. He also formerly served as a counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will consider any nomination, and worked in the Justice Department on civil rights.
Thomas M. Hardiman
Hardiman, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in Philadelphia, was the first member of his family to graduate from college, and he helped to pay for his education by driving a taxi. His compelling life story, coupled with a winning personality, have appealed to Trump, as has his solid record of conservative rulings. Hardiman served with Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, the president’s sister, on the appeals court, and Barry recommended Hardiman to her brother as a good choice for Scalia’s seat.
William H. Pryor Jr.
Pryor, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, is a committed conservative who this month wrote a majority opinion ruling that people with felony criminal records in Florida were ineligible to vote unless they paid back all of their court fines and fees. At his 2003 confirmation hearing, he stood by an earlier statement that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that established a constitutional right to abortion, was “the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history.”