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Trump Narrows SCOTUS Choices To Three

Our friends at One News Now report that President Trump's top contenders for the Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement are federal appeals judges Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Amy Coney BarrettKavanaugh and Raymond Kethledge, according to a person familiar with Trump's thinking who was not authorized to speak publicly.

The President conducted interviews on Monday and Tuesday and has spoken to seven possible candidates. He has not yet publicly indicated that he has narrowed the list and could still consider others in the mix, and ONN reports Vice President Mike Pence has also met with some of the contenders for the Supreme Court vacancy.

Already some very fine parsing of the potential nominees’ records is taking place.

Libertarian-leaning Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has told colleagues he may not vote for Kavanaugh if the judge is nominated, citing Kavanaugh's role during the Bush administration on cases involving executive privilege and the disclosure of documents to Congress, said a person familiar with Paul's conversations who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

Some conservatives have pointed to Kethledge as a potential justice in the mold of Neil Gorsuch, Trump's first Supreme Court nominee last year. Both Kethledge and Gorsuch once served Kennedy as law clerks, as did Kavanaugh. Kethledge, a Michigan Law graduate, would add academic diversity to a court steeped in the Ivy League.

However, three sources familiar with Kethledge’s reasoning and judicial philosophy have raised concerns with Breitbart News over his tendency, not unlike his one-time boss Justice Kennedy, to resort to sweeping moral judgment, rather than constitutionally-mandated restraint, in reaching his opinions.

This emphasis on moral considerations over constitutional originalism can be seen in one of Kethledge’s opinions, United States v. Gabrion, where he wrote for the majority of the entire Sixth Circuit. Kethledge upheld rapist and murderer Marvin Gabrion’s death penalty which Gabrion’s lawyers sought to overturn in part based on Michigan’s lack of a death penalty. The murder took place on federal land, making Gabrion eligible for execution, to which the jury unanimously sentenced him.

Both a concurring opinion and the dissent criticized Kethledge’s use of moral considerations in determining whether the jury should have been able to hear evidence about how, if the murder had taken place nearby, outside of the national forest, Gabrion would not have faced death. “I do not think that the majority’s references to the jury’s moral judgment are necessary to resolve this case,” wrote Judge Eric Clay, who came to the same conclusion upholding Gabrion’s death sentence, but wrote separately specifically to object to Kethledge’s sweeping moral reasoning.

An opinion Kethledge joined in 2016 similarly raised questions as to the centrality of originalism in Kethledge’s approach to the Second Amendment.

In Tyler v. Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Dept., all 15 judges of Kethledge’s court reheard an earlier panel decision and ruled 9-6 in favor of Clifford Tyler, a Michigan man a magistrate sent for a brief stay at a mental health facility after his children found him distraught on learning his wife of 23 years had run off with another man — and his life savings — and called the police, fearing their father might harm himself.

Thirty years later, Tyler sought to have his right to purchase a gun, lost forever as a result having been in a mental hospital for 30 days in the 1980s, restored. Kethledge sided with the majority, joining Judge Jeffrey Sutton’s concurring opinion, one of several siding with the man who, under Michigan law, had no mechanism to petition to dispute his status as “mentally ill” and who was unable to own firearms, despite having led an exemplary life without signs of mental illness for decades.

Kethledge had the option of joining one of several pro-gun opinions, including a heavily “original meaning” focused one which criticized the controlling opinion in the case for “giving little more than a nod to the originalist inquiry.”

But Kethledge instead joined the Sutton opinion, which focuses largely on the injustices endured by the mentally ill, criticizing the government for tacking too close to “the unfair generalizations that once applied to individuals with mental health challenges” in its arguments. Sutton, for example, made reference to the infamous 1927 Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell, that upheld Virginia’s eugenic sterilization laws for the mentally ill.

“The key insight,” Sutton concluded, “is that no government may permanently deny rights based on generalizations stemming from classifications about any individual who once was institutionalized.”

The implications of Kethledge’s decision to join Sutton’s Tyler concurrence are uncertain, but may suggest a judicial philosophy on the Second Amendment that stands at odds with the originalist direction paved by Justice Antonin Scalia when he crafted the Heller decision wrote Breitbart’s Ian Mason.

In contrast to the admittedly narrow criticisms of Kethledge and Kavanaugh, Christian conservatives are almost uniformly backing Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a U.S. Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Judge Barrett also clerked for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and taught at the University of Notre Dame School of Law.

The American Family Association spoke for many conservatives when they sent a letter to President trump saying, “we prayerfully, strongly, and humbly implore you to select the nominee with a demonstrably constitutional judicial philosophy and a verifiably strong will against political pressure… It is our conviction that the best nominee on your list of 25 prospects is Judge Amy Coney Barrett. You are well aware of her record, but below are just some of the reasons why we believe she is by far your best prospective nominee to the Supreme Court.”

AFA then listed these eight points in favor of Judge Barrett:

1)      Judge Barrett is not a Stealth Nominee. Her judicial philosophy is well known from her many academic writings, so she would not be a dreaded stealth nominee who would provoke conservative opposition. If the present Senate is unwilling to confirm the best nominee, then the seat can remain vacant during the election, and the people will elect a Senate who will confirm the best nominee. It is better to have a vacancy until next year than to fill the seat with a weak nominee who will betray your legacy and the constitution for the next forty years.

2)      Judge Barrett has a Constitutionalist Judicial Philosophy. She has consistently held to the constitutionally essential view that judges should never legislate their personal views from the bench.

3)      Judge Barrett has a Prestigious Resume. As a former clerk who worked at the Supreme Court for Justice Scalia and as a Notre Dame law professor, Barrett has the necessary training, knowledge, and philosophy to serve on the Supreme Court.

4)      Judge Barrett has more Judicial Experience than Elena Kagan. Judge Barrett already has more judicial experience than Elena Kagan had when she was nominated to the Supreme Court, so any liberal opponents will be unable to claim that Barrett needs more judicial experience.

5)      Judge Barrett is Tested. Barrett was rigorously tested during her hearing last year before the Senate Judiciary Committee. This hearing not only endeared her to constitutionalists and religious conservatives but revealed the strategy of her opponents to attack her religious faith. The opposition was handled brilliantly by Senate leadership who used the attacks to expose her opponents as intolerant, tone-deaf, religious bigots.

6)      Judge Barrett is Confirmable. She was confirmed with 55 bi-partisan votes, one more vote than Justice Gorsuch received. The stakes are certainly higher with a Supreme Court Justice, but her vote would go before all but one of the same Senators who just voted for her confirmation. She could literally lose five votes (e.g., two Republicans and three Democrats) and still be confirmed to the Supreme Court.

7)      Judge Barrett has a Compelling Personal Story that Pre-empts the Liberal Playbook. Liberals had a miserable time using their tired playbook of attacks against Barrett’s last confirmation because she has a compelling and compassionate life story. She and her husband have seven children, one with special needs. Several were adopted from Haiti. Attempts to label her an “uncompassionate bigot” will fail.

8)      Judge Barrett Represents a Known Quantity. Because she was just confirmed, we know that constitutionalists and conservatives backed her; we know the Senate leadership fought for her confirmation with press conferences, floor speeches, and the final vote. In addition, her opponents have already revealed their strategies to stop her nomination.

The nomination of the next Supreme Court Justice may be the most important decision of the Trump presidency and will define President Trump’s legacy for generations to come. We urge President Trump to choose a nominee who will be not just good, but great in the mold of Justice Antonin Scalia, and the potential nominee who most fits that profile is Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

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Supreme Court Nominee to replace Justice Anthony kennedy

it doesn't matter to me if Amy Coney Barrett is appointed and selected as President Donald J. Trump's choice to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy we Republican conservatives want a staunch Republican conservative like the late great Antonin Scalia and Justice Anthony Kennedy whose conservative positions including, Judicial Review, and opinions according to the Constitution protects the American people Constitutional rights and freedoms legally from the liberal Justices dissents and decisions which is vital to American Republican conservatives values from Traditional marriage,
religious freedom, our Second Amendment rights, illegal immigration, voter fraud ,pro-life, affirmative action, to name a few.
It seems Amy Barrett has those attributes as a Republican conservative who is likely to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy to the U.S. Supreme Court to demonstrate her role as a Republican conservative Justice who will also follow the rule of law thru her Judicial restraint interpreting the law according to American Jurisprudence and conservative principles.