Upcoming Match-ups

SCOTUS: Trump Considers His Short-List of 25 Judges

Justice Kennedy was oftentimes the swing vote in the Supreme Court - who will take his place?
Justice Kennedy was oftentimes the swing vote in the Supreme Court - who will take his place? By Donkey Hotey (Flickr) [CC License]
  • Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring, leaving President Trump with another Supreme Court appointment
  • Trump has a short-list of 25 names and expects to make his decision on Monday, July 9th
  • With the filibuster option removed, the Democrats are powerless to oppose Trump’s pick

After 30 years as a Supreme Court justice, Anthony Kennedy is hanging up the robe and granting President Trump another SCOTUS seat to fill. This will be Trump’s second Supreme Court appointment since taking office. Kennedy was often the swing vote in the court’s 5-4 decisions, so the vacant seat gives Trump and the Republicans a chance to shift the court to the right.

Trump has a short-list of 25 candidates and is expected to announce his decision as soon as next Monday, July 9th. After that, it’s up to the Senate to vote on his pick. The Democrats are pushing back with everything they have, but with the threat of a filibuster off the table, there’s really not much they can do. A simple majority, which the Republicans currently hold, will be enough to see Trump’s pick confirmed.

There are two names that stand out from Trump’s list of 25: Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh.

Odds to be Trump’s Next Pick for SCOTUS

SCOTUS Pick Odds
Amy Coney Barrett 67/33
Brett Kavanaugh 19/6
Raymond Kethledge 87/13
Thomas Hardiman 22/3
Mike Lee 19/1

There are two names that stand out from Trump’s list of 25: Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh.

Barrett is a Trump appointee to the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals and a former clerk to Antonin Scalia. She ticks all the right boxes: young, a trusted conservative, and pretty uncontroversial. Three Democratic Senators — Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly, and Tim Kaine — recently voted in her favor, along with pro-choice Republicans Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins.

Kavanaugh was a frontrunner to fill Scalia’s seat, and he’s once again a favorite to replace Kennedy. As a former Kennedy clerk, he’s well-positioned to fill the vacancy. He was also a principal author of the Starr Report, which recommended the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. That’s got to earn him some points with Trump.

Raymond Kethledge is another former Kennedy clerk in the running. He was also a frontrunner to replace Scalia but was passed up in favor of Gorsuch. Thomas Hardiman, a 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals judge, was apparently the runner-up for Scalia’s vacant seat. Both are among the favorites to replace Kennedy.

Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) may seem like a strange pick for the Supreme Court, especially since he’s never served as a judge. Nonetheless, he’s being seriously considered for the position. Trump considers him a friend, but it would be difficult to convince a single Democrat to vote to confirm him.

Prop O/U
Over/Under on Democrats to vote for Trump’s pick 1.5
Over/Under on Republicans to vote against Trump’s pick 0.5

Trump’s nominee will win confirmation by 50 to 49 if the vote splits along party lines (51-49 if John McCain is able to vote). The way things are going, that seems like the most likely outcome. The Senate Democrats are hellbent on opposing any pick Trump makes, at least until after the Midterms. And the Senate Republicans will probably fall in line and confirm the pick, much like they did with Neil Gorsuch.

Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana), Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota), and Joe Manchin (D- West Virginia) were the three Democrats who voted to confirm Gorsuch

There are a few Senators who could potentially break with their party, though. The Democrats have a handful of senators facing reelection in deep-red states, and voting to confirm Trump’s SCOTUS pick could help them with Republican voters. Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana), Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota), and Joe Manchin (D- West Virginia) were the three Democrats who voted to confirm Gorsuch, and they’re the key blue votes to watch this time as well.

On the other side of the aisle, all eyes are on Lisa Murkowski (R- Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). Both Senators are unlikely to support a nominee who would vote to overturn Roe v Wade, and together they have the ability to swing the vote. However, neither Collins nor  Murkowski are up for reelection in November, so they’re not under much political pressure to appease their constituents.

Prop O/U
Over/Under on number of Supreme Court appointments Trump will receive during his first term 2.5

There’s a good chance of another Supreme Court seat opening up in the not-too-distant future. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 85 and has served on the Supreme Court for close to a quarter of a century. Stephen Breyer is 79 and was appointed only a year after Ginsburg. Sonia Sotomayor is only 64 but suffers from health problems that may force her into early retirement.

These three Supreme Court justices — all appointed by Democrats — could conceivably vacate their seat during Trump’s first term.

Author Image

Don Aguero is a man of many talents, writing about nearly anything you can put odds to. Don has been writing for SportsBettingDime since 2015, covering sports, entertainment and politics. You name it, he's covered it! He is also a steadfast West Ham fan, and has learned to embrace that suffering.