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Trump Says He Already Has ‘Excellent’ Supreme Court Nominee Lined Up in Case of Surprise Vacancy

President Donald Trump, during a Tuesday interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, said that he has an “excellent” Supreme Court nominee lined up in the event that there is a vacancy on the high court.

Republican lawmakers, amid concerns about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s health and various rumors about the possible retirements of either Justice Clarence Thomas or Justice Samuel Alito in the coming months, have repeatedly said that they would not have qualms about confirming a Supreme Court nominee during a lame duck session of Congress—notwithstanding the Merrick Garland precedent.

It has already been reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) favors Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amul R. Thapar, 51, as a “prime candidate.” Seventh Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett, 48, is also on most conservatives’ SCOTUS short-lists.

Hewitt, after talking Tom Brady and Bill Belichick with the president, shifted the interview into “serious” subject matter.

“First serious question, in the last five months of this term, for the last five months of your second term if you get one, would you make a nomination to fill a vacancy that occurred on the Supreme Court?” Hewitt asked.

“Absolutely, I’d do it. Sure. It depends,” the president responded, saying that the Democrats would do the same if they had the opportunity.

Hewitt asked if Trump had “someone in mind,” but the Q&A veered momentarily into Trump discussing the nearly 300 lifetime appointments to the federal bench that he has secured in his first term.

Hewitt asked twice more if Trump had someone in mind for SCOTUS in the event that there is a surprise vacancy.

“I do. I have somebody that I think would be excellent. I do,” Trump answered.

Hewitt asked if that someone was named Amy Coney Barrett. The president said that he couldn’t say who, exactly, he would nominate, but did say that the “excellent” person would be “well-recieved.”

“No, I can’t, I can’t name who, but I have somebody that I think would be really well-received, would be excellent, highly-respected. I mean, that’s subject to change, but somebody that really would be, I think, I think great,” the president said.

Trump campaigned in 2016 on nominating pro-life justices to the Supreme Court. That will not change, and Barrett certainly fits the bill. 

During Barrett’s appellate court confirmation hearing, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) notoriously suggested that the nominee’s Catholic faith was concerning.

“The dogma lives loudly within you,” Feinstein said.

[Image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is managing editor of Law&Crime. He formerly worked as news editor and weekend editor at Rare.