In case you missed it, President Trump was interviewed by Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday and talked about his next Supreme Court nominee. A transcript of the portion addressing the Supreme Court is below, and you can listen here from the 2:25 to 5:05 mark.
The interview was very interesting and there were at least four major take-aways:
1) Trump said he would absolutely nominate someone to fill any vacancy that might occur in "the last five months of this term", or his second term. I believe Trump will be re-elected, but even if he were not, he would still nominate someone to fill a vacancy in "the last five months of this term," which includes after the election – in November and December. Winning a majority of Senators to confirm a nominee in that circumstance would take work, but Trump would absolutely nominate and fight for their confirmation ... and so would all constitutional conservatives!
2) Trump already has one top Supreme Court nominee in mind. Hewitt asked Trump twice if he had a Supreme Court nominee already in mind and Trump unequivocally said “yes.” Of course, he said it could be “subject to change.”
3) Amy Coney Barrett? After Trump said he had someone in mind, Hewitt then asked Trump if the person was Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Trump would not say, but Trump did say the nominee was great and would be very well received. It was reported in March of 2019, that Trump was saving Barrett to replace Ginsburg (although Trump was not on record in that report).
4) Divided v. Unified Government Standard. Although not covered directly in the interview, Trump is following the "Unified Government Standard" rather than the 2016 "Divided Government Standard." The fake media have attempted to revise history and create a false narrative concerning the Scalia/Garland scenario in 2016 by claiming that there should never be a SCOTUS confirmation in an election year. That is an incomplete and inaccurate assessment.
The reason Garland was not confirmed in 2016 was because of “divided government” between the two bodies involved in confirmations during a Presidential election. In 2016, the nominating body (Democrat) and the confirming body (Republican) were of different parties: divided. Presently, there is not "divided government" between those two bodies (both are of the same party) and, therefore, the path is clear under the Unified Government standard to fill any SCOTUS vacancy.
But, in truth, neither the "Divided Government Standard" nor the "Unified Government Standard" are required under the Constitution. So, if you want to keep it real you can just follow the Constitutional Text Standard which simply requires that the President nominate and the Senate confirm by a majority. Under the only standard that matters, constitutionally, the President and the Senate can act on any vacancy between now and the end of their terms, whether in September, October, November, December, or January.
Think about that.
Contrary to fake media reports, Justice Ginsburg is not well. We pray for her soul. If she leaves the bench, President Trump is prepared to fight for a Justice this year. And, if the nominee is truly great - and I believe it will be - constitutional conservatives will run to that fight with the combined force of King David, Joan of Arc, and George Washington.
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Trump/Hewitt interview.
HH: Mr. President. 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?
DJT: You mean if something happened like now?
DJT: Absolutely, I’d do it. Sure. It depends…
HH: Someone in mind?
DJT: You know, I don’t know what you’re talking about, time, but if you’re talking about if something would happen now, no, I would move quickly. Why not? I mean, they would. The Democrats would if they were in this position. But you know, I’ll be interested…
HH: Do you have someone in mind?
DJT: Oh, at the end of my term, I’ll be up to about 300, could be even a little bit more, 300 federal judges, including Court of Appeals, Appellate divisions. We’ll be at 300, think of that, 300 judges, probably a little bit more, and two Supreme Court judges. Think of that. It’s not happened…
HH: No, no, you followed through. The 53 Appeals Court judges are all solid, and I hope you keep making them.
DJT: And they’re solid, and the Appeals Court judges are, you know, I’m getting rave reviews that even some of the, those on the left are saying well, we don’t agree with them, but they are very powerful picks. So, we’re getting rave reviews on judges. I will say that. But you know, who’s had so many? Now I was given a gift, because I had 142 when I first came in. I said you know, I’ve always heard, and you’ve always said, and I’ve always heard the most important thing you can do are Supreme Court justices and judges, you know, a combination, really, both. And I said how many do I have my first day? Sir, you have 142. I said you’ve got to be kidding. So, I started off with 142. Most presidents start off with none. I would say very rarely do you have one. I had 142, got them filled with really talented, very, very great people, very highly respected people. And from there, I’ve gone on to continue to fill a lot of judgeships. A lot of people have retired because they got to a certain age and they retired. We didn’t discourage that. And we, we’re up to, we’ll be over 300. And it’s hard to believe, but we’ll be over 300…
HH: It is, it’s a great achievement. If there is a vacancy this year or early next year or anytime in your second term, do you have a choice already in mind to nominate?
DJT: I do. I have somebody that I think would be excellent. I do.
HH: Is she named Amy Coney Barrett?
DJT: 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.