How many Supreme Court nominees does Donald Trump need?
Twenty-one, apparently. Trump’s campaign released a list of 10 more potential nominees to the nation’s highest court on Friday—only five months after he floated a list of 11 jurists from which he pledged to appoint. With only nine seats on the Court, Trump now has enough possible candidates to fill each seat at least twice.
Listing one’s picks for the Supreme Court before an election is an unprecedented move for American presidential candidates. While each administration typically keeps a shortlist of potential nominees should a vacancy arise, those names are kept close to their chest. But Trump’s unusual disclosure is driven more by political necessity than transparency.
One of Trump’s strengths during the primary campaign was his ideological plasticity, allowing him to outmaneuver his opponents on immigration and trade. But that same flexibility also stoked fear among conservatives who now fear losing their four-decade majority on the Court following Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February. Trump’s past support for abortion rights and gun-control measure only added to their anxiety about maintaining a conservative bench.
Like his previous list, Trump’s latest prospects come from an assortment of backgrounds. Four of the ten names offered serve on state supreme courts: Edward Mansfield of Iowa, Keith Blackwell of Georgia, and Charles Canady of Florida, as well as Robert Young, currently Michigan’s chief justice.