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Op-ed Placement

What Trump's Supreme Court List (and Hillary Clinton's Reaction to It) Tells Us

Originally Published in Fox News on 5/19/16.

Donald Trump took an important step Wednesday in his quest to convince conservatives that, if elected president, he will deliver on the issues they care about.

Addressing the all-important issue of Supreme Court appointments, Trump released a list of eleven potential nominees, while making it clear that his list was inspired by Justice Antonin Scalia’s “reverence for the Constitution.”

The reaction from legal scholars on the right to the eleven names was overwhelmingly positive, even among those who remain otherwise skeptical of Trump.

Professor John Yoo, a top lawyer in George W. Bush's Justice Department, called it an "all-star list of conservative jurisprudence," adding that "Everyone on the list is an outstanding legal conservative."

Trump’s list also drew praise for its inclusion of five state Supreme Court judges at a time when there are no state judges on the United States Supreme Court and state courts tend to be overlooked when potential Supreme Court nominees are discussed. That tendency is unfortunate because of the wealth of judicial talent on state benches and because, as Yoo points out, "State supreme-court justices will have special sensitivity to the balance between federal power and state sovereignty."

Also notable on the Trump list is the inclusion of Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willet, a conservative favorite whose frequent tweets have included ones critical of Trump. Willet’s inclusion signals that Mr. Trump is more interested in unifying the Republican party than in holding grudges against his critics.