A liberal advocacy group released a shortlist Tuesday of potential nominees for the next Democratic president to use as a guide for selecting justices to fill any vacancy on the Supreme Court.
The Demand Justice organization led by Brian Fallon, who served as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s press secretary, listed 32 legal scholars his group would like to see elevated to the federal bench.
Several law professors and lawyers from progressive advocacy groups are on this list, as well as some circuit court judges and justices from the California Supreme Court.
Xavier Becerra, a former congressman and now the attorney general of California who has led several coalitions of blue states suing the Trump administration to stop a range of policies, including immigration and the environment, is also on the list.
“Democrats running for president should tell primary voters who they might appoint to the Supreme Court. And they should be bold enough to pick someone who’s worked to defend civil rights, workers’ rights or reproductive rights,” tweeted Mr. Fallon, executive director of Demand Justice.
Demand Justice, in a statement, noted none of the individuals it is promoting is a corporate lawyer.
Carrie Severino, chief counsel of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network that backs President Trump’s judicial nominees, slammed the liberal group’s list.
“These people are radicals. This list is a dream come true for far-left activists who seek to turn the courts into a political super-legislature,” Ms. Severino said.
In its statement touting the list, Demand Justice recognized the success Mr. Trump had during his 2016 campaign in releasing a shortlist of judicial nominees he would use to fill high court vacancies. The group wants the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee to emulate that strategy.
“Doing so would show their commitment to the Supreme Court as an issue and draw a clear line in the sand about what is at stake in the coming election,” the group’s statement read.
None of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates has provided a list of names they’re considering for federal bench appointments.
But Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala D. Harris and Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, have all suggested they are open to expanding the number of justices on the high court to counter-balance the conservative 5-4 majority on the court.
The idea was dismissed by liberal icon Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in July, who told NPR that court-packing would make the court look partisan.
“Nine seems to be a good number. It’s been that way for a long time,” Justice Ginsburg said.
SCOTUSBlog, a private website that tracks the Supreme Court and was created by Washington lawyer Tom Goldstein, described Demand Justice’s list as diverse and said it’s an ideal guide for progressives.
“Ideologically, the list is a liberal parallel to the conservative list used by President Trump. The critical difference is that progressives have far less influence in Democratic SCOTUS appointments than conservatives have in Republican appointments,” SCOTUSBlog tweeted.
In a 2016 exit poll conducted by CNN, 56 % of voters who backed Mr. Trump said Supreme Court appointments were the “most important” factor in their vote. Only 41% of those who backed Mrs. Clinton said the same.