Two Florida judges have risen to the top of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s shortlist to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Supreme Court should he be elected president, Trump's campaign team announced Friday.
Florida Supreme Court Justice Charles Canady and Federico Moreno were among the top ten contenders out of 21 individuals Trump said he would consider if he became president and had to pick a Supreme Court justice to fill the vacancy left by Antonin Scalia following his death earlier this year.
Canady has served as a Supreme Court justice since 2008, when he was appointed to that position by former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. Canady served as Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court from 2010-2012. He has also served as a judge of the Florida Second District Court of Appeals and was also a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993-2001.
Canady also served as counsel for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and routinely makes up part of the conservative bloc of the Florida Supreme Court justices. He gained notoriety in the late 1990s as one of the prosecutors in President Bill Clinton’s 1999 Senate impeachment trial.
Federico Moreno serves as a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida which covers the southern portion of the state. He was nominated to this position by President Goerge H.W. Bush in 1990. Before serving as a judge for the Southern District of Florida, Moreno worked as an assistant federal public defender and worked as a judge on the Dade County Court.
After Scalia died in February, many assumed President Barack Obama would name a new nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, but Obama has made no indications he will select a new Supreme Court contender before he leaves office.
Trump made the announcement of his top picks several days before the first televised presidential debate, which will be held Monday. Some are calling the announcement a calculated move to inform Republican voters of his conservative stance and desire to promote their ideals if elected to office.
“We have a very clear choice in this election. The freedoms we cherish and the constitutional values and principles our country was founded on are in jeopardy,” Trump said in a statement. “The responsibility is greater than ever to protect and uphold these freedoms and I will appoint justices, who like Justice Scalia, will protect our liberty with the highest regard for the Constitution.”
Trump, a part-time Florida resident, has close ties to the Sunshine State and has spent a significant amount of time campaigning across the state in recent weeks.
The billionaire businessman said this would be the only list he would select from if elected president.
“This list is definitive and I will choose only from it in picking future Justices of the United States Supreme Court,” Trump explained. “I would like to thank the Federalist Society, The Heritage Foundation and the many other individuals who helped in composing this list of twenty-one highly respected people who are the kind of scholars that we need to preserve the very core of our country, and make it greater than ever before.”