Donald Trump today released more names of judges he would choose to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court if he is elected president.
Two of them, Timothy Tymkovich and Neil Gorsuch, hail from Colorado and sit on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Colorado and five other western and midwestern states.
Both judges were appointed by George W. Bush and are conservative.
Tymkovich, the 10th Circuit’s chief justice, once served as the solicitor general of Colorado and argued the state’s case for Amendment 2 in 1995, a voter-approved ballot measure that banned state and local municipalities from enacting laws that prohibited discrimination on the basis of someone’s sexual orientation. The U.S. Supreme Court in 1996 struck down the measure as unconstitutional.
Tymkovich and Gorsuch sided with the majority of a 10th Circuit decision in 2013 in the famous case about whether Hobby Lobby should be required to have healthcare plans that include free contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Both justices ruled for Hobby Lobby and relied on the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United to do so. Written by Tymkovich, the ruling stated, in part:
Because Hobby Lobby and Mardel express themselves for religious purposes, the First Amendment logic of Citizens United, where the Supreme Court has recognized a First Amendment right of for profit corporations to express themselves for political purposes, applies as well.
We see no reason the Supreme Court would recognize constitutional protection for a corporation’s political expression but not its religious expression. We also believe that a constitutional distinction would conflict with the Supreme Court’s Free Exercise precedent. First, we cannot see why an individual operating for-profit retains Free Exercise protections but an individual who incorporates—even as the sole shareholder—does not, even though he engages in the exact same activities as before. This cannot be about the protections of the corporate form, such as limited liability and tax rates. Religious associations can incorporate, gain those protections, and nonetheless retain their Free Exercise rights.
During a stop in Colorado Springs yesterday, Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, told the crowd to imagine what the Supreme Court might look like if Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton becomes president.
“We’re electing a president for the next four years and that president is probably going to set a course of direction of the Supreme Court of the United States for the next 40 years,” Pence said. “You better think about that real hard, Colorado.”
Meredith Thatcher, the spokeswoman for Clinton’s Colorado campaign, called the future of the Supreme Court one of the critical issues Clinton has raised on the campaign trail.
“Looking back at the important decisions made by the Supreme Court over the last eight years, from upholding the Affordable Care Act to making marriage equality the law of the land, it’s clear we need to elect a president who will appoint judges who don’t put corporations and special interests ahead of individuals— starting with repealing Citizens United,” Thatcher said.
Other names on Trump’s potential Supreme Court justice list include U.S. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who was the only non jurist to make the cut. Lee, who has been a critic of Trump throughout this election, quickly said he is not interested.
In May, Trump released the names of 11 potential picks for the Supreme Court, which included Colorado Supreme Court Justice Allison Eid.
— Geoffrey Klingsporn (@coloradoappeals) September 23, 2016
The latest list, according to The Wall Street Journal, includes:
Mike Lee, Utah senator Neil Gorsuch, 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Margaret A. Ryan, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces Edward Mansfield, Iowa Supreme Court Keith Blackwell, Georgia Supreme Court Charles Canady, Florida Supreme Court Timothy Tymkovich, 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Amul Thapar, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky Federico Moreno, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida Robert Young, Chief Justice, Michigan Supreme Court.
Photo by Jeff for Creative Commons on Flickr.