Ten days after his victory, Donald Trump has already made several key personnel decisions. He filled three major staff positions and two extremely important posts that require Senate approval — Attorney General and CIA Director.
However, his most important selection, Supreme Court Justice, may not come for a while. Unlike staff and Cabinet/sub-Cabinet jobs, Justices don’t have to prepare to administer a bureaucracy. Thus, the need for Trump to select Justice Scalia’s successor is less pressing.
This doesn’t mean we can’t speculate about Trump’s choice, though. Tim Alberta of NRO reports that at the Federalist Society convention in Washington this weekend, the conservative consensus favors two federal appellate judges — Diane Sykes of the Seventh Circuit and William Pryor of the Eleventh Circuit. (This doesn’t mean that others on Donald Trump’s lists wouldn’t satisfy the convening conservatives).
Sykes and Pryor are the two jurists cited by Donald Trump during one of his debates. It happened just before the South Carolina primary, when Trump stated, “We could have a Diane Sykes or you could have a Bill Pryor.”
I’ll take either one.
Alberta outlines separately the case for each. Pryor is a conservative hero. As such, his nomination would produce a firestorm, as his nomination by George W. Bush to the Eleventh Circuit did. It would play to the Trump-as-bigot narrative, but that’s not a reason to shy away from Pryor. Americans don’t want to be told they elected a bigot — not at this juncture, anyway.
To confirm Pryor, Republicans would have to eliminate the filibuster. But they probably are going to have to do this anyway if a conservative replacement for Scalia is to be confirmed.
Sykes is solidly conservative, but probably less controversial. Her gender may also tempt Trump to nominate her.
In my view, age should be an important factor in the selection process. If Trump selects well, we will want his pick to serve at least 20 years.
Pryor is 54. Sykes will be 59 next month.
If Pryor is nominated, he will be crucified by the left for allegedly equating same-sex relations with bestiality. Pryor once stated:
Petitioners’ protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, a constitutional right that protects ‘the choice of one’s partner’ and ‘whether and how to connect sexually’ must logically extend to activities like prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest and pedophilia (if the child should credibly claim to be ‘willing’).
Like so much of the criticism the left is peddling against Trump nominees and potential nominees, the claim that Pryor thereby equated same-sex relations with bestiality is obviously false. In fact, as Ramesh Ponnuru points out, the quoted passage does just the opposite.
Pryor was making a simple “slippery slope” argument. The essence of such arguments is that if you do x, which may seem reasonable and/or palatable, you will also have to do y and z, which are unreasonable and/or unpalatable.
[Pryor’s statement] implies that the other activities are worse, or seem to be worse, than same-sex relations. He’s saying: If you accept a constitutional right to engage in same-sex sexual activities on the ground that there’s a right to choose “whether and how to connect sexually,” you are logically committing yourself to accepting these other things too.
If those other things didn’t seem like worse things to tolerate than same-sex relations, there would be no point to advancing the argument.
As usual, Ponnuru’s logic is impeccable. But the left will let neither logic nor facts stand in the way of its various smear campaigns.