by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Though it’s difficult to assess who Trump might pick from the list of possible candidates his campaign compiled during the general election, some Court-watchers are placing bets on the early favorites.
Josh Blackman, a law professor at South Texas College of Law in Houston, is curating a LexPredict contest at FantasySCOTUS which allows entrants to pick the most likely nominee from Trump’s 21-person list (plus Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, given rumors abounding on Capitol Hill). FantasySCOTUS is a Supreme Court fantasy league which allows participants to make predictions about cases before the Court, which Blackman also runs. Both FantasySCOTUS and his blog have a following among lawyers, journalists, and law professors.
Judge Raymond Kethledge of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is presently the narrow favorite of participants in the FantasyJustice tournament, followed closely by Judge William Pryor of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Justice Don Willett of the Texas Supreme Court, Judge Diane Sykes of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and Cruz round out the top five. …
… Kethledge, 49, had a similarly contentious confirmation battle, though he was eventually confirmed in 2008 as part of a deal between Bush and Michigan Democratic Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow to fill vacancies on the 6th Circuit. He won accolades in 2014 for a particularly cheeky ruling in which he excoriated the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for bringing an anti-discrimination case against Kaplan Higher Education Corporation because they use credit checks when hiring employees; EEOC argued such measures have a disparate impact on minorities. Kethledge also sided with the federal government in a high profile Fourth Amendment case concerning the use of phone data in securing criminal convictions.