by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A panel of legal scholars has identified Utah Supreme Court Justice Thomas Lee as the candidate on President-elect Donald Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees most like the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
The four-person group produced a paper called “Searching for Justice Scalia: Measuring The ‘Scalia-ness’ of the Next Potential Member of the U.S. Supreme Court,” which measured key characteristics to determine which candidates are most likely to exhibit Scalia’s jurisprudence and style.
“If one is serious about replacing Justice Scalia with a jurist like him, one should care more about how a potential replacement reached a decision, which will illuminate how a judge approaches the law,” the authors write. “This, in turn, will provide a far clearer window into how that judge would behave when elevated to the Supreme Court, and, ironically, the outcomes they would reach.”
The study measured “Scalia-ness” in three ways: How much the candidate engages with or promotes originalism, Scalia’s preferred interpretive theory, in their opinions; how often they cite Scalia’s non-judicial writings; and how often they write separate opinions.