Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said Friday that if he wins the presidency in 2024, his nominees for the Supreme Court would be just like conservative hardliners Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.
“As President, I will nominate and appoint Justices to the Supreme Court along the lines of Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito,” DeSantis said to applause at the conservative Faith & Freedom Coalition conference in Washington.
The GOP governor also vowed to defend both judges against “weird attacks” by “the media and left-wing groups” over their apparent ethical failings.
“I stand with Judge Thomas. I stand with Judge Alito in the face of these attacks,” he said.
The “attacks” he spoke of aren’t exactly whimsical; Both judges are the subject of bombastic investigative reports from ProPublica It turned out that they had accepted lavish trips from major Republican donors who had business or Supreme Court business interests. Neither Thomas nor Alito reported these trips. And Thomas’ mother still lives rent-free in a house bought by billionaire Harlan Crow, who footed the bills for Thomas’ decades-long travels.
DeSantis was one of several Republican presidential candidates who spoke at Friday’s event — South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy were also in attendance — but he was the one Only one to talk about his plans for the Supreme Court.
He knew his audience. Former President Donald Trump wooed the Conservatives ahead of his 2016 election by promising to put their favorites on the spot. He even published a shortlist of potential Supreme Court nominees that was full of conservative candidates. This message earned him the support of powerful legal organizations such as the Federalist Society.
After Trump became president, the Federalist Society practically provided him with a series of conservative court decisions throughout his tenure in the White House. All of Trump’s nominees for the Supreme Court are members of the Federalist Society. Virtually all of its appeal judges are also judges. A number of his District Court decisions are also members.
DeSantis clearly aspires to be the candidate who would be best for conservatives on the courts — even better than Trump. With right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt last week DeSantis asked If he committed to selecting people for federal court seats similar to Trump’s three Supreme Court justices, DeSantis would have the former president after him.
“Actually, I’d say we’ll do better,” he replied.
“I mean, I respect the three appointments he made, but none of those three are on the same level as Justice Thomas and Justice Alito,” DeSantis said. “I think they’re the gold standard and so my judges will be in the vein of a Sam Alito and a Clarence Thomas.”
During his speech on Friday, the Florida governor warned of progressive groups calling for the Supreme Court to be expanded.
“The left know they’ve lost control of the court and they don’t like it,” DeSantis said. “If they succeed in gaining the upper hand in 1924, they will fill the Supreme Court with liberal judges. When this is done you will have maybe 13 people on the Supreme Court.”
He added: “They place a strong emphasis on laying the groundwork for delegitimizing our great conservative judges.”
Of course, progressive groups and Democratic lawmakers would argue that the court itself is already delegitimized and in dire need of reform.
There’s the problem with that two “stolen” seats, A term sometimes used in reference to Republicans helping Trump confirm two of his elections by blocking the confirmation of President Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland and then Amy Coney Barrett just days before the 2020 presidential election push through – while millions of people voted for Joe Biden.
And not only did the court’s conservative supermajority 6-3 last year break a longstanding precedent and overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, but its two most conservative judges — Thomas and Alito, DeSantis’ model judges — interpreted indicate that they would do so We would like to reconsider other landmark rulings to potentially revoke more rights, including the 2015 ruling that gave same-sex couples the constitutional right to marry.