Jordan Candler / November 21, 2016

Trump Should Announce SCOTUS Nominee Now

Trump would be wise to nominate a conservative justice sooner rather than later.

Donald Trump is in the process of vetting and nominating an outstanding list of candidates who will promote a conservative agenda. As chance has it, the new president’s task includes picking a successor to the late Justice Antonin Scalia from the list of constitutionally conservative prospects he announced earlier this year. In fact, selecting Scalia’s replacement is rightly considered by many to be the most important decision Trump will make; it’s one major reason Hillary Clinton was ultimately dethroned. So when should Trump announce the nominee? Unveiling a decision sooner rather than later would provide both the incoming administration and conservative voters numerous benefits.

That’s the case being made by The Wall Street Journal editorial board. “Apart from the national-security and Treasury jobs, the next Justice may be the most important to move on quickly,” the editors contend. At minimum, a hasty announcement would give the next administration a crucial head start: “While Mr. Trump won’t be inaugurated until Jan. 20, the new Congress convenes in the first week of January. With the continuity from the current to the new Senate, the GOP-led Judiciary Committee could begin vetting Mr. Trump’s nominee as soon as it gets the name. A vote could take place soon after the President-elect is sworn in and can formally submit the nomination.”

Getting the process underway now will help temper the leftist lower courts. The editors continue, “Numerous cases challenging the Obama Administration’s dubious rule-makings are moving through the federal courts, which President Obama has moved sharply left over eight years. The circuit courts of appeal might be inclined to rubber stamp those regulations, which means they would become law in those circuits unless the Supreme Court takes the cases. A 4-4 High Court ruling means the lower-court decision stands. Knowing a new Supreme Court is ready for review could give some lower-court judges pause before they issue rulings likely to be overturned.” Moreover, “An early nomination could also get ahead of the game if Mr. Trump’s choice runs into confirmation trouble.”

But there’s another important reason for Trump to nominate someone soon, and it has to do with the fact many conservatives voted for Trump based on his pledge to nominate a justice whose views are commensurate with those of Scalia’s. As Mark Alexander wrote last week, “I voted for the presidential candidate who vowed to appoint constitutional constructionists to the Supreme Court — appointments critical to the protection of our Republic and its foundational Rule of Law.” Two good options are Diane Sykes and William “Bill” Pryor. Over the last week Trump has recruited good leaders to his cabinet. That’s a good start. But Trump also needs to make good on his promise regarding SCOTUS. Choosing an originalist and doing so quickly will show loyalty and bring solace to those who reluctantly took a gamble on him.

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