Who Donald Trump Would Nominate for the Supreme Court

Who Are Diane Sykes and Bill Pryor?

Donald Trump Supreme Court Nominees
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has identified two people he's nominate to the U.S. Supreme Court if elected. Tom Pennington / Getty Images

The list of people who Donald Trump would nominate to the U.S. Supreme Court is fairly short. The 2016 Republican presidential hopeful has identified only two people he would nominate to the nation's highest court if elected to the White House.

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Trump has said he would nominate Diane Sykes and Bill Pryor, both of whom are federal judges tapped for the bench by Republican President George W. Bush.

 The billionaire real estate mogul dropped their names during a February 2016 presidential debate when prompted by CBS News moderator John Dickerson.

The question was asked following the unexpected death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia earlier that month. Scalia had been the court's most vocal and eloquent conservative member, and his passing allowed President Barack Obama the rare opportunity to tip the political and ideological balance during the final months of his presidency.

Asked Dickerson:

"If you were president and had a chance, with 11 months left to go in your term, wouldn't it be an abdication, to conservatives in particular, not to name a conservative justice with the rest of your term?"

Responded Trump:

"Well, I can say this. If the president, and if I were president now, I would certainly want to try and nominate a justice. I'm sure that, frankly, I'm absolutely sure that President Obama will try and do it. I hope that our Senate is going to be able — Mitch, and the entire group, is going to be able to do something about it. In times of delay, we could have a Diane Sykes, or you could have a Bill Pryor — we have some fantastic people. But this is a tremendous blow to conservatism. It's a tremendous blow, frankly, to our country."

Trump also tweeted in February 2016:

"Diane S. Sykes and William H. Pryor Jr. would make excellent nominees to replace beloved Justice Scalia when I become president." 

 

So who are Diane Sykes and Bill Pryor? Here are short bios of the two people Trump has identified as potential nominees to the Supreme Court.

Diane Sykes Bio

The first potential Supreme Court nominee identified by Trump is Diane Sykes. She is a former newspaper reporter who went to law school and was elected a county judge in Wisconsin. She is a federal judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.

Sykes earned a bachelor’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 1980 and went on to work for the the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She earned a law degree from Marquette University Law School in 1984, practiced law privately until being elected judge in the Milwaukee County courts in 1992. She served  in the misdemeanor, felony and civil divisions until her appointment to the state Supreme Court in September 1999, according to a Wisconsin Court System bio of her.

She was appointed by Bush to a federal judgeship in 2004.

Bill Pryor Bio

The second potential Supreme Court nominee identified by Trump is Bill Pryor. He is a former Alabama attorney general tapped by Bush in 2004 as a federal judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He is a 1984 graduate of Northeast Louisiana University and 1987 graduate of the Tulane University Law School.

Pryor is most widely known in his home state of Alabama for siding against the state's chief justice, Roy Moore, for refusing to take down a monument to the Bible's 10 Commandments in front of the judicial building, 

"Because the chief justice intentionally and publicly engaged in misconduct, and because he remains unrepentant for his behavior, this court must remove the chief justice from office to protect the Alabama judiciary and the citizens who depend upon it for fair and impartial justice," Pryor wrote in what is perhaps his most well known ruling.

Pryor has also described the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal in the United States, "the worst abomination in the history of constitutional law."