WASHINGTON — No sitting justice on the Supreme Court has indicated plans to leave any time soon.
But tell that to President Trump, who announced on Friday his latest slate of judicial candidates to fill a vacancy that — as far as anyone knows — does not exist.
As a presidential hopeful, Mr. Trump released a list of 21 names of judges (and one politician) and promised not to stray from it should he win the election and be in a position to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016. After taking office, Mr. Trump named Neil M. Gorsuch, a federal appellate judge who had been on his original list, to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat.
On Friday afternoon, with little explanation, Mr. Trump added five names to the list.
If he again gets the chance to fill a vacancy on the nation’s highest court, Mr. Trump said that he would now consider two additional state judges, two newly minted federal appeals court judges and a veteran federal judge thought by many to be a leading contender despite being left off the president’s original list.
Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was a striking omission from the president’s original list. One administration official has said in the past that Judge Kavanaugh would be a leading candidate should Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, 81, decide to step down. Judge Kavanaugh is now officially on the list.
Others added on Friday were Justice Britt C. Grant of the Georgia Supreme Court; Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit; Justice Patrick R. Wyrick of the Oklahoma Supreme Court; and Judge Kevin C. Newsom of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.
Mr. Trump’s new candidates add to a roster of committed judicial conservatives compiled by Donald F. McGahn II, Mr. Trump’s longtime election lawyer and now the White House counsel, with help from two leading conservative policy groups: the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society.
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