Meet the Five Trump Judges Who Could Replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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Analysis Law and Policy

Meet the Five Trump Judges Who Could Replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Lisa Needham

None of the five possible choices to join the Supreme Court are good.

Read our previous Meet the Trump Judges columns here.

Only one day after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Donald Trump announced that a “woman would be in first place” to replace her and that the “choice of a woman I would say would certainly be appropriate.”

Here are five possible choices—none of them are good.

Amy Coney Barrett

Amy Coney Barrett was a finalist for the Supreme Court seat that went to Brett Kavanaugh. Coney Barrett never practiced law; instead she taught at Notre Dame Law School for 15 years before Trump named her to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017. She clerked for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and thinks a legal career is “but a means to an end … and that end is building the Kingdom of God.”

Barrett has belonged to anti-choice faculty and church groups, and she believes abortion is “always immoral.” In short, though she has said she’d respect precedent, she’s willing to radically undermine abortion rights.

Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.

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Allison Jones Rushing

Allison Jones Rushing ascended to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals at just 37 years old. If named to the Supreme Court, it’s conceivable she could serve nearly 50 years. Like Coney Barrett, she’s inexperienced, having tried only four cases to verdict or judgment, and none of those as the lead attorney. Her real qualifications are ideological. She interned for the anti-LGBTQ and anti-choice Alliance Defending Freedom and thinks the Supreme Court case United States v. Windsor, which undid the Defense of Marriage Act, was wrongly decided.

Like Coney Barrett, Rushing is terrible on reproductive health issues, having voted to bar Title X funds from going to health-care organizations that perform abortions or provide abortion referrals.

Allison Eid

Allison Eid replaced Justice Neil Gorsuch on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals after serving on the Colorado Supreme Court. Her record reflects a long history of pushing conservative causes. While in Colorado, she argued in favor of tax dollars financing religious schools and would have exempted religious entities that receive state tax dollars from paying taxes. Since joining the Tenth Circuit, she blocked an excessive force lawsuit against a police officer who shot an unarmed man while he was running away from gunfire.

If Eid joins the Supreme Court, she would be a reliably partisan vote.

Sarah Pitlyk

Sarah Pitlyk, who sits on the U.S. District Court in St. Louis, was rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Association because she has never tried a case, examined a witness, taken a deposition, or argued a motion. Rather, Pitlyk has spent most of her time working to undermine reproductive health rights. She helped write an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, calling abortion “intrinsically immoral.”

Pitlyk helped defend David Daleiden, who illegally recorded videos of Planned Parenthood employees as part of a lengthy smear campaign. Her anti-abortion activism is also deeply racist, with a focus on race-selective abortion bans that trade on the stereotype that abortion clinics target women of color.

Barbara Lagoa

Barbara Lagoa was appointed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2019 after spending over a decade in the Florida state courts. Like all of Trump’s picks, she’s a member of the Federalist Society. During her time on the Florida courts, Lagoa, a Cuban American, racked up a lengthy record of siding with employers against employees, banks against borrowers, and the rich against the poor. She took that attitude to the 11th Circuit, where earlier this month she joined the majority in upholding Florida’s modern-day poll tax, which bans those who have completed their felony sentences from voting if they still owe fines or costs.

For more on Ruth Bader Ginsburg, check out our special report.