President Trump has said he will nominate a woman to take the place of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He joked, “I think [the nominee] should be a woman because I actually like women much more than men.”
Actually, Trump is eliminating men from consideration purely for political considerations. That’s understandable, but it’s comparable to Joe Biden’s irresponsible decision to set aside the vice presidential nomination for a woman.
Fortunately, the bench of quality candidate for the Supreme Court seems fairly deep. As I understand it, there are twelve women on the list of potential nominees that Trump put out earlier this year. They are:
Bridget Bade: Ninth Circuit
Amy Coney Barrett: Seventh Circuit
Allison Eid: Tenth Circuit
Britt Grant: Eleventh Circuit
Barbara Lagoa: Eleventh Circuit
Joan Larsen: Sixth Circuit
Martha Pacold: Northern District of Illinois
Sarah Pitlyk: Eastern District of Missouri
Allison Jones Rushing: Fourth Circuit
Margaret Ryan: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
Diane Sykes: Seventh Circuit
Kate Todd: Deputy White House counsel
I believe there are some well qualified candidates among this group. However, there may be males on the longer list who would make better Justices. It’s unfortunate to see them ruled out because of their gender.
Biden doubled down on identity politics when he apparently decided his running mate had to be non-White. There are reports that Trump is being urged to select a Latina to improve his chances of winning Florida and Hispanic voters generally.
As I understand it, Barbara Lagoa is the only Latina on Trump’s list. Lagoa has been a U.S. Court of Appeals judge for less than a year. However, she has years of experience as an appellate judge in Florida, including one year on that state’s Supreme Court.
The daughter of immigrants who fled Castro’s Cuba, Lagoa is said to have a great “personal story.” That should count for nothing. What was Antonin Scalia’s great story? What is Samuel Alito’s?
I have no opinion on whether Lagoa should be the nominee or how high up the list she should rank. But if she is nominated and confirmed, she might well serve on the Court for 20 years or more. With the stakes that high, ethnicity should not be a factor in deciding whether to nominate Lagoa.