Notable names on Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi makes the sign of the cross after pausing outside the U.S. Supreme Court where flowers, signs and chalk messages on the sidewalk have been left in tribute to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stops to view the tributes to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Supreme Court Sunday morning. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)

People gather at the Supreme Court on the morning after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87, one of the high court's liberal justices, and a champion of gender equality, in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Two people walk past the Supreme Court on the morning after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87, one of the high court’s liberal justices, and a champion of gender equality, on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Cardboard signs and flowers
Cardboard signs and flowers blanket the Supreme Court’s grounds on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, in tribute to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The 87-year-old died Friday of metastatic pancreatic cancer after 27 years on the court. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

Two people embrace in front of Supreme Court
Two people embrace in front of the Supreme Court on the morning after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a champion of gender equality, on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

Person with flowers
This person leaves flowers on the Supreme Court’s grounds on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, in tribute to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

Cardboard signs and flowers
Some of the many cardboard signs and flowers blanketing the Supreme Court’s grounds on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, in tribute to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

Cardboard signs and image of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
One of the many tributes blanketing the Supreme Court’s grounds on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, in honor of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

Cardboard signs and flowers
Many cardboard signs and flowers blanket the Supreme Court’s grounds on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, in tribute to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

cardboard signs and flowers, with people in the background
People are seen on the Supreme Court’s grounds on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, paying tribute to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as cardboard signs and flowers blanket the area. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

cardboard signs and flowers, with people standing
More people are seen on the Supreme Court’s grounds on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, paying tribute to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

Cardboard signs and flowers
Cardboard signs and flowers blanket the Supreme Court’s grounds on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, in tribute to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The 87-year-old died Friday of metastatic pancreatic cancer after 27 years on the court. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

The American flag blows in the wind after it was lowered to half-staff Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
The American flag blows in the wind after it was lowered to half-staff on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, at the Supreme Court. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A couple pauses outside the Supreme Court Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A couple pauses outside the Supreme Court on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Flowers and light candies outside the Supreme Court Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Flowers and light candies outside the Supreme Court on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

overhead shot of light candies
This is an overhead shot of light candies positioned to spell “RBG” outside the Supreme Court on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)

Flowers and mourners crowd the steps outside the Supreme Court on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in tribute to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)

People gather at the Supreme Court Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
People gather at the Supreme Court on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, outside the Supreme Court after it announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

People gather at the Supreme Court Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A crowd of people gather at the Supreme Court on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A demonstrator at right argues with people gathered at the Supreme Court to mourn the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A demonstrator at right argues with people gathered at the Supreme Court to mourn the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

People gather at the Supreme Court Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
People gather at the Supreme Court Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

People light candies outside the Supreme Court Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
One of the large cardboard signs people left outside the Supreme Court on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in tribute to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

People lay flowers and light candies outside the Supreme Court Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Mourners gather at the Supreme Court on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

People gather at the Supreme Court Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Another view of people who gathered at the Supreme Court on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

People gather at the Supreme Court Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
People gather at the Supreme Court Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The flag at the White House flies at half-staff Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
The flag at the White House flies at half-staff on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Ginsburg Memorial
A crowd shot of the hundreds of mourners who converged on the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s memorial. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

(1/27)
People gather at the Supreme Court on the morning after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87, one of the high court's liberal justices, and a champion of gender equality, in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Cardboard signs and flowers
Two people embrace in front of Supreme Court
Person with flowers
Cardboard signs and flowers
Cardboard signs and image of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Cardboard signs and flowers
cardboard signs and flowers, with people in the background
cardboard signs and flowers, with people standing
Cardboard signs and flowers
The American flag blows in the wind after it was lowered to half-staff Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A couple pauses outside the Supreme Court Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Flowers and light candies outside the Supreme Court Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
overhead shot of light candies
People gather at the Supreme Court Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
People gather at the Supreme Court Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A demonstrator at right argues with people gathered at the Supreme Court to mourn the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
People gather at the Supreme Court Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
People light candies outside the Supreme Court Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
People lay flowers and light candies outside the Supreme Court Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
People gather at the Supreme Court Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
People gather at the Supreme Court Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
The flag at the White House flies at half-staff Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Washington, after the Supreme Court announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Ginsburg Memorial

President Donald Trump has vowed to appoint a woman to replace late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after circulating a roster of more than 20 potential nominees in recent weeks that includes prominent and lesser-known conservatives who would undoubtedly tilt the court further rightward if appointed.

The death of Ginsburg, a liberal icon, on Friday provides Trump with an opportunity to appoint his third justice to the bench, a move that is sure to infuriate Democrats and satisfy Republicans looking to add a sixth conservative justice to the court.

Here are some of the more notable members of Trump’s list of potential nominees:

Amy Coney Barrett

A former clerk to the late Justice Antonin Scalia, Barrett was Trump’s pick for a seat on the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals.

Born in 1972, she served as a professor of law at her alma mater, Notre Dame.

During her confirmation hearing, she had a contentious exchange with Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who asked her about past writings concerning faith and the law. At one point, Feinstein asked Barrett if the “dogma lives loudly in her.” Supporters of Barrett suggested Feinstein was attempting to apply a religious litmus test to the nominee.

Barrett is quoted in a 2013 publication affiliated with Notre Dame as saying she thinks it is “very unlikely at this point” that the Supreme Court is going to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 abortion decision that legalized abortion in the US.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has spoken to Trump more than once this weekend and has indicated to him that he and GOP senators know Barrett well, suggesting that her nomination might move quicker because they know her record, according to a source familiar with the matter.

But the suggestion of a Barrett nomination met sharp disapproval from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer who said at a news conference Sunday evening that she “stands for all the things Ruth Bader Ginsburg was against and so many things that the vast majority of American people are against.”

Barbara Lagoa

Trump appointed Lagoa to the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals in 2019. Before that, she was the first Hispanic woman and the first Cuban American woman on the Supreme Court of Florida, which is a battleground in the presidential campaign.

If appointed to the high court, she would be its second justice of Latino descent, joining Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who became its first Latino member in 2009.

Lagoa, who has the backing of many evangelicals, hails from Florida and has deep connections in the state that could be a battleground.

Trump on Saturday called her “an extraordinary person” and noted that she is Hispanic.

“I’ve heard incredible things about her. I don’t know her. She’s Hispanic and highly respected. Miami,” Trump said.

While Trump met with Barrett in the run up to the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation, it’s unclear if he’s had a face-to-face meeting with Lagoa.

Allison Jones Rushing

Another Trump appointee, Rushing has served on the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals since her Senate confirmation in March 2019.

Born in 1982, a nomination to the high court would position Rushing to serve through multiple administrations for decades to come.

Democrats have criticized Rushing for her short career and her nomination to the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals brought considerable scrutiny from civil rights organizations in part over her ties to Alliance Defending Freedom, where she held an internship and later spoke to law students at ADF-sponsored events.

“Her record clearly shows she will not be a fair and independent judge — a reality with dire consequences for Fourth Circuit cases and the American people,” Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said in a statement at the time.

Other names signal what Trump is looking for

While the President has said he’ll nominate a woman, the men he has previously floated for nominations still offer a look at the kind of conservative credentials he’s looking to place on the Supreme Court.

Amul Thapar, who was previously considered to be a frontrunner should a vacancy arise, was handpicked by McConnell to serve as the US attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Trump nominated Thapar to the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017.

In 2007, Thapar was the first American of South Asian descent to be named to an Article III federal judgeship.

He’s joined on Trump’s previous list of potential nominees by former US Solicitors General Paul Clement and Noel Francisco.

Francisco, who stepped down as solicitor general in July at the end of the Supreme Court’s last term, had served as many controversial issues came to the court, including disputes regarding the President’s financial records, the travel ban, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, religious liberty and the effort to add a citizenship question to the census.

Clement served as solicitor general during George W. Bush’s presidency. One of the most experienced appellate advocates in the country, he has argued more than 100 cases before the court.

Trump had added several new names to his list earlier this month, including three Republican senators — though two of them swiftly said they weren’t interested in a spot on the bench. The third, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, initially responded by saying he “will always heed the call of service to our nation.”

He also said at the time that “It’s time for Roe v. Wade to go.”

Cotton, however, said Sunday that he was no longer on Trump’s list for the spot and that he’s “communicated with the White House that now is not the time to have me under consideration.”

This story has been updated with additional developments Sunday.



Read more about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life and the impact her death is having:

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up