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Trump puts Nevada judge on list for SCOTUS

Supreme Court. Public domain image, via Wikimedia Commons.

In an effort to energize his supporters ahead of the November election, President Donald Trump Wednesday added former Nevada Solicitor General Lawrence VanDyke and 19 other conservative judges to his list of potential nominees to the Supreme Court.

Among the 20 additions to Trump’s list were Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Josh Hawley of Missouri.

Trump said that under a Joe Biden administration, the court would be packed with ideological judges and that issues that Republicans care about, such as the right to bear arms, would be under threat. 

He said that in the next four years as many as four justices could retire. In 2016, the president also campaigned on installing conservative judges on the Supreme Court, which resonated with Republican voters. 

He challenged Biden to release a similar list.

VanDyke serves as a judge on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overseeing Nevada. 

His nomination to the Ninth Circuit was contentious, and both Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Sen. Jacky Rosen opposed his confirmation. 

“Lawrence VanDyke isn’t qualified to serve in his current position holding Nevada’s seat on the Ninth Circuit, much less on the Supreme Court," said Rosen spokeswoman Katherine Schneider in a statement. "When last nominated, he was a partisan and anti-LGBTQ nominee who faced bipartisan opposition in the Senate."

The American Bar Association (ABA) wrote a scathing letter last fall to the Senate Judiciary Committee against VanDyke’s nomination, citing concerns about his ability to impartially adjudicate cases involving members of the LGBTQ community.

The ABA, which traditionally vets judicial candidates, also wrote that VanDyke was “arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in knowledge of the day-to-day practice including procedural rules.”

At his confirmation hearing, he tearfully defended himself against allegations of bias against the LGBTQ community and pledged to be fair and impartial. 

He was confirmed by the full Senate in December on a 51 to 44 vote with one Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, joining with all Democrats in opposing the judge.

This article was updated on September 9, 2020, at 3:27 p.m. to include comments from the offices of Sen. Jacky Rosen and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.

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