Donald Trump’s announced list of 11 possible U.S. Supreme Court nominees has received a very positive response from conservatives because of the solid conservative records of every name on the list.
There is, however, another metric by which Trump’s judicial list also compares to the current court.
The Supreme Court today has become a captive of elite Ivy League schools. The current Court has four Harvard Law graduates, three Yale Law graduates and one Columbia Law graduate. Justice Antonin Scalia was also a Harvard Law graduate. That means the Supreme Court of a continent-wide country was dominated by a triangle from Boston to New Haven to New York City. Imagine in a country of 3.8 million square miles, extending from Maine and Florida to Hawaii and Alaska, the Supreme Court relies on a tiny triangle to educate its Supreme Court Justices —- all from the same few schools.
The pleasant surprise in the Trump list of potential Supreme Court nominees is how diverse their law school backgrounds are. Furthermore, many of these potential justices come from state courts and have a state rather than federal or academic background. Consider this list:
Judge Steven Colloton of Iowa serves on the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and is the only Yale Law graduate on the list.
Justice Allison Eid of the Colorado Supreme Court is a University of Chicago Law School graduate.
Judge Raymond Gruender of Missouri serves on the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and graduated from the Washington University Law School in St. Louis, Missouri.
Judge Thomas Hardiman of the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals graduated from Georgetown Law School.
Judge Raymond Kethledge from Michigan serves on the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and graduated from the University of Michigan.
Justice Joan Larsen of the Michigan Supreme Court graduated from Northwestern University Law School.
Judge Thomas Lee of the Utah Supreme Court graduated from the University of Chicago Law School.
Judge William H. Pryor Jr. of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta graduated from Tulane Law School. (As a fellow Tulane alumnus it makes me proud that he is on the list.)
Justice David Stras of the Minnesota Supreme Court graduated from the University of Kansas Law School.
Judge Diane Sykes of the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago graduated from Marquette University Law School.
Finally, Justice Don R. Willett of the Texas Supreme Court graduated from Duke University.
The Trump Revolution found its first clear definition in this list of eleven conservative potential Supreme Court nominations. Only one of the eleven is from the elite triangle that has dominated the Court. Harvard and Columbia were ignored. Yale got one mention.
The only law school to get two names on Trump’s list was the University of Chicago.
This suggests that the geographic and experiential diversity of the Supreme Court would be dramatically enhanced by a Trump presidency.
All of the potential nominees would be reliable conservatives. But the range of experiences would be remarkably healthier than an all Harvard-Yale-Columbia monopoly.
This is an indication of the new people and new thinking we should expect from a Trump presidency in many different fields. And that would be a very positive development: Washington could benefit from big personnel changes and more diversity to better reflect the American people.