Trump calls for new conservative justices after gut-punch week of liberal-leaning rulings

Election 2020
President Trump nominates Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court

Judge Neil Gorsuch (C) and his wife Marie Louise look on, after US President Donald Trump nominated him for the Supreme Court, at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 31, 2017.
Trump named Judge Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee. / AFP / Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK — The Supreme Court dealt President Donald Trump his second big legal setback in a week, rejecting his effort to end legal protections for 650,000 young immigrants, and prompting the president to assert that the court just “doesn’t like” him.

After the highest court in the nation ruled that the Trump administration’s grounds and process for ending DACA were not legally sound, the president sounded off on Twitter.

He called the decision “politically charged,” and said recent rulings from the court were “shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives. We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd. Amendment & everything else.”

He said the decision was “seemingly not based on the law.”

The court voted 5-4 in favor of The Obama-era policy of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, with Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the court’s four liberal-leaning justices.

The move prompted Trump to call for new blood on the bench.

“I will be releasing a new list of Conservative Supreme Court Justice nominees, which may include some, or many of those already on the list, by September 1, 2020. If given the opportunity, I will only choose from this list, as in the past, a Conservative Supreme Court Justice,” he said.

While justices certainly have their own ideologies — and are often chosen with them in mind — the position is not inherently political. That said, more justices generally lean conservative on the court’s current iteration, or had been appointed by conservative presidents, with the conservative Roberts the swing vote in the DACA decision.

Moreover, justices are appointed to their term either for life or until the step down voluntarily, meaning Trump could only appoint a new justice, or “more justices” as he said, in the case of a death of a justice or their unlikely resignation.

“Such job security in the federal government is conferred solely on judges and, by constitutional design, is intended to insure the independence of the federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court, from the President and Congress,” according to an online forum,, which publishes Congressional think tank and research papers, and attributed that idea to Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist Papers.

A president does not have the power to remove a justice from office.

During his time in office, Trump has already seen two of his appointees to the court join the bench: Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — the latter of whom was the subject of a highly scrutinized Senate approval.

Following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016, Trump and his campaign issued lists with conservative judges of which he would chose a successor if elected, similar to the one proposed on Twitter Thursday.

Trump’s call Thursday for conservative justices echoes a strategy used by his campaign in 2016 — though there was a seat open at that time.

That said, if Trump wins in November, he’d be more likely to have a court vacancy to fill.

According to CNN, neither Gorsuch nor Kavanaugh were on the original Trump list, though they were on subsequent ones.

Former Vice President and assumed Democratic candidate for president Joe Biden has not released a list, CNN said, but said he would appoint a black woman to the high court, which would be the first time in the nation’s history.

For now, those immigrants retain their protection from deportation and their authorization to work in the United States.

However, the court did not rule on the legality of DACA, but rather — in the opinion written by Roberts — said they evaluated “only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action.”

The administration could seek another legal challenge of DACA in the future, since the court did not decide on the constitutionality of the executive order itself.

Earlier this week, the court ruled that it’s illegal to fire people because they’re gay or transgender, turning away Trump administration arguments.

Associated Press contributed.

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