When Donald Trump is inaugurated as president on January 20, he’ll have one immediate spot on the Supreme Court to fill. By the end of his time as president, that could grow to two or three or even four SCOTUS vacancies.
Justice Antonin Scalia died last February and President Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland has been waiting nine months for a confirmation that now isn’t going to come. Trump will get to name a replacement for Scalia and, potentially, nominees to fill the seats of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal justice who is 83 years old, Anthony Kennedy, a conservative swing vote on the Court who is 80 years old, and Stephen Breyer, another liberal justice who is 78 years old.
Trump has already released a list he says he will pull from when naming nominees to the nation’s highest court for lifetime terms. Each would need to be questioned and approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee before being confirmed by the full Senate, with a majority vote. So be sure to tell your senators what you think.
Keith Blackwell, ~ 42 years old (Blackwell finished undergrad in 1996). Justice Blackwell currently serves on the Georgia Supreme Court and was appointed by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal in 2012. He graduated from the University of Georgia law school, then worked in private practice before going to work for the state, including on Georgia’s Court of Appeals. As a deputy special attorney general for the state, Blackwell helped Georgia to challenge the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, according to Forbes. Blackwell is also a fan of video games, telling a group of attorneys last year that he enjoys playing NFL games to clear his mind after work.
Charles Canady, 62 years old. Canady is a former member of the House of Representatives and general counsel to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who now serves on the Florida Supreme Court. He also served as the court’s chief justice for a two-year term. During his time in the House, Canady coined the term “partial-birth abortion” in a fight to ban the practice (which wouldn’t pass until 2003, after he left Congress), according to the Florida Bar Journal. He was a strong supporter of the Defense of Marriage Act (which defined marriage as between one man and one woman) and pushed to impeach President Bill Clinton. Just last month, Florida’s Supreme Court ruled that the state’s new death penalty law was unconstitutional because it does not require the jury to be unanimous; Canady was the only justice to dissent in that case.