Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy—the court’s key swing vote who was fairly good on LGBTQ rights and a disaster on virtually everything else—announced his retirement on Wednesday, handing President Donald Trump the opportunity to name a second far right monster to the highest court in the land twice within his first term in office.
While it remains to be seen who Trump will pick as Kennedy’s successor, the president said on Wednesday that he would fill the vacancy by choosing from a list of 25 contenders published by the White House last November. (Trump chose his first nominee, Neil Gorsuch, from a similar list published during the 2016 campaign.)
As you may remember, that list is a who’s-who of monsters, ghouls, and cartoonish villains whose sheer proximity to the Supreme Court should illicit terror from anyone not in favor of forcing women to carry all fetuses to term before shoving an AR-15 into their hands as soon as the kid is born.
Here are just a few examples from this judicial rogues’ gallery.
A onetime clerk for Justice Kennedy who also helped serve on Ken Starr’s impeachment investigation of President Bill Clinton, Kavanaugh is widely considered the frontrunner for his former bosses’ seat.
Kavanagh is currently serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. His nomination to that court was criticized for the part he played in helping craft the legal framework for the Bush administration’s domestic spying program. Since then, he’s been a staunch supporter of gun owners, and an opponent of abortion rights, having written a dissenting opinion to a ruling that allowed a 17-year-old undocumented immigrant to end her pregnancy while in US custody.
He is 52 years old.
Amy Coney Barret:
A Trump appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, this former Notre Dame law professor is a staunch Christian conservative who has called Roe v Wade an “erroneous decision”; signed a statement of protest calling the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate an “assault on religious liberty”; and spoken before the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated anti-LGBTQ hate group.
She was approved for the Seventh Circuit by a vote of 55–43, with three Democratic senators—Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly, and Tim Kaine—joining Republicans to back her nomination.
She is 46 years old.
Like Kavanaugh, Kethledge also clerked for Justice Kennedy before he was nominated to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals by President George W. Bush. There, Kethledge has ruled in favor of allowing law enforcement to obtain certain types of cell phone information without a warrant, which he said was not a violation of the 4th Amendment. He also ruled in favor of Tea Party groups who claimed they’d been discriminated against by the IRS.
He is 51 years old.
Currently serving on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, Thapar is another Trump-appointed judge whose initial nomination drew intense criticism from Democrats, who questioned his close associations to the ultra-conservative Federalist Society.
A friend of GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell—who twice pushed him toward the federal bench—Thapar is responsible for striking down rulings in order to allow judges to make political contributions, and once sentenced am 84-year-old nun to nearly three years in prison for her role in a peace protest.
He is 49 years old.
Another George W. Bush appointee—this time to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals—Hardiman is a solid conservative who largely rules in favor of gun owners and against free speech. In 2010, he ruled there is no specific First Amendment right allowing police officers to be videotaped during traffic stops. He also voted to strike down a law which criminalized videos of animal cruelty, and has ruled that a jail’s mandatory strip searching of inmates was not a Fourth Amendment violation, as the facility’s safety concerns outweighed the privacy concerns of the inmates.
He is 52 years old.
There’s plenty more where that came from. Read the full list here.