The Judicial Crisis Network (JCN), a conservative advocacy group, put $1.1 million behind a two-week national ad campaign calling on Democratic presidential candidates to release the names of possible Supreme Court appointees.
The push comes after The New York Times revealed that liberal interest groups, labor unions, law professors, and attorneys are quietly coordinating a campaign to identify and groom judicial nominees for the next Democratic president.
“President Trump was open and honest with the American people and has kept his promise,” said JCN chief counsel Carrie Severino. “He released his list of judges, but Joe Biden and other Democrats running for president have yet to reveal theirs. Democratic candidates and liberal groups are campaigning to pack the courts with liberal judges, while keeping their list secret.”
“Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden and all Democratic presidential candidates should stop hiding and release their list of potential Supreme Court nominees so the American people can judge for themselves,” Severino added.
The Times reported on June 8 that Democrats expect a surge of judicial retirements should President Donald Trump’s reelection bid fail. Eager to capitalize on that opportunity, the left-wing Alliance for Justice is leading a concerted effort called “Building the Bench” to find attractive candidates for the bench.
“It is essential to be ready on day one of a new administration with names to fill every vacancy,” said Alliance for Justice president Nan Aron. “This is to start identifying people so the new president won’t waste a minute in addressing this need.”
However, the campaign does not plan to share its recommendations with the public, for reasons which are not clear.
Tuesday’s launch comes as the Democratic contenders gather in Miami for the first debate of the 2020 cycle. The 20 qualifying participants will debate over two sessions on Wednesday and Thursday night.
Some 2020 Democrats are considering sweeping structural remedies to counter Trump’s judicial confirmation successes. Though some candidates have rejected so-called “court-packing” measures, ten Democratic contenders have either endorsed proposals to add seats to the Supreme Court or said they would consider such reforms.
One such proposal, which has drawn favorable mention from South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg would expand the high court to 15 justices — Republicans and Democrats would each select five nominees, and the remaining five would be selected by the unanimous vote of the first 10.
Others, like former Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey support less ambitious changes like term limits.
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