Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) all won the distinction of inclusion on President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court shortlist — and two of the three seemed enthralled by the notion.
“It’s humbling and an immense honor to be considered for the Supreme Court,” Cruz said in a statement. “The High Court plays a unique role in defending our Constitution, and there is no greater responsibility in public service than to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
“I will always heed the call of service to our nation,” Cotton added. “The Supreme Court could use some more justices who understand the difference between applying the law and making the law, which the Court does when it invents a right to an abortion, infringes on religious freedom and erodes the Second Amendment.”
Hawley, though, rejected the offer in “per my last email” style.
I appreciate the President’s confidence in listing me as a potential Supreme Court nominee. But as I told the President, Missourians elected me to fight for them in the Senate, and I have no interest in the high court. I look forward to confirming constitutional conservatives
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) September 9, 2020
Trump announced his picks Wednesday from the Diplomatic Reception room of the White House, taking time to criticize Democratic nominee Joe Biden for not doing the same.
“Radical justices will erase the Second Amendment, silence political speech, and require taxpayers to fund extreme late-term abortion,” he said. “They will give unelected bureaucrats that power to destroy millions of American jobs. They will remove the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. They will unilaterally declare the death penalty unconstitutional, even for the most depraved mass murderers.”
Trump released his list of picks, carefully curated by the likes of the The Federalist Society, in 2016 too, a gambit aimed at swaying reluctant conservatives to his side.
It may be less effective this time around, though. According to a Pew poll released in mid-August, 66 percent of Democrats ranked Supreme court appointments as “very important” to their 2020 vote compared to 61 percent of Republicans. That’s a sea change from the summer before the 2016 election when Trump supporters were eight points more likely than Hillary Clinton supporters to prioritize SCOTUS picks. A similar result was found in an early August Morning Consult poll with 57 percent of Democrats rating the Supreme Court as “very important” to just 53 percent of Republicans.