Vivek Ramsawamy, a businessman running for the Republican presidential nomination, will release a list of potential picks for the US Supreme Court on Monday in a bid to highlight his conservative credentials to early-state voters who might be skeptical of a candidate without a background policy.
The move echoes one made by Donald J. Trump in his 2016 presidential campaign, at a time when he was still facing questions from Republican voters about his background as a New York Democrat who had once supported abortion rights and he had appeared more moderate on some issues.
Mr. Ramaswamy’s list, previously reported by Axios, includes jurists who have ruled on various aspects of the Republican culture wars, including religious issues, free speech, vaccine mandates, and transgender rights. In a statement, Mr. Ramaswamy sought to contrast his approach with that of President Biden, who promised during his campaign to nominate the first black woman to the highest court, which he did when he nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson. . Mr. Ramaswamy dismissed that move as « purely superficial diversity ».
“What each of the people I would name shares is their unwavering dedication to the principles of originality and commitment to a constitutionalist judicial philosophy,” Ramaswamy said. « Our courts are the last line of defense against an administrative state that rules by decree, legislates from the bench, stifling freedom and truth. »
Mr Ramaswamy said he, his staff and what aides describe as « third-party organisations » have reviewed all the writings and decisions of the nine judges on his list, focusing on originality – the judicial philosophy that is based on the words of the Constitution when it was written contrary to an interpretation based on current opinion – and a « commitment to a constitutionalist judicial philosophy ».
Mr. Ramaswamy is polling well behind Mr. Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in national polls and early state polls. But Mr. Ramaswamy has been spending a lot of time in Iowa, where his slate of justices for a potential open seat on the Supreme Court could matter.
His list includes Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas. Mr. Lee was on Mr. Trump’s initial list in 2016. Mr. Cruz has been mentioned in lists of prospective conservative lawyers, but his decision to oppose certification of the electoral college outcome of the 2020 election would raise ire among Democrats , which might cite other objections as well.
Also on the list is Judge James Ho, who serves on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. A member of the conservative Federalist Society and a former clerk of Judge Clarence Thomas, Justice Ho has been a vocal opponent of abortion rights.
Another jurist, Judge Lawrence Van Dyke of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, was nominated to that position by Trump in 2019. At the time, the American Bar Association said in a letter it feared it would not be fair for LGBTQ people.
Others on the list include Judge Lisa Branch, a member of the Federalist Society who sits on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals; Paul D. Clement, former attorney general; Judge Thomas M. Hardiman of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, who was on Trump’s initial short list to replace Judge Antonin Scalia; Judge Justin R. Walker of the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals; and Judge John K. Bush of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.