From the moment Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly in February, Heritage Foundation scholars have been at the forefront of the debate over the Supreme Court vacancy. That now includes influencing the list of potential replacements being considered by Donald Trump, the Republican Party's presidential nominee.
Trump’s list of 11 potential justices includes five suggestions that had appeared in a commentary from The Heritage Foundation’s John Malcolm, director of the director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and the Ed Gilbertson and Sherry Lindberg Gilbertson senior legal fellow, first published in March.
In March, Malcolm wrote a Daily Signal commentary about the Supreme Court vacancy and eight highly qualified candidates to replace Scalia.
“With lifetime appointments, all federal court judges, but most particularly Supreme Court justices, exert substantial influence on the development and application of the law over a long period, often for decades after the president who appointed them has left office,” Malcolm wrote.
Five of the individuals Malcolm recommended eventually made it on Trump’s list.
“There was obviously overlap between the Supreme Court list that Heritage put out, which I compiled and which was available to all the candidates who were running, and the list Donald Trump put out,” Malcolm explained to The Huffington Post.
“As a research and educational institution, The Heritage Foundation promotes sensible conservative public policies, and I am always heartened whenever policymakers across the political spectrum look to Heritage for guidance,” added Malcolm.
The five judges on both lists were federal Judges William Pryor, Diane Sykes, Steven Colloton, Raymond Gruender, and Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett.
Heritage Foundation experts have met with numerous candidates for all levels of public office in the last year, including the Trump campaign, in an effort to promote conservative policy recommendations that provide opportunity for all Americans.
“Supreme Court justices wield tremendous power and decide on cases that affect the daily lives of millions of Americans,” said Malcolm.
He noted how rare it is for there to be a vacancy on the Supreme Court during an election year. Plus, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be 83 and Anthony Kennedy will be 80 by Election Day.
“That’s why it’s so important that Heritage does what it can educate candidates and the public about the power of the judiciary,” said Malcolm.