President Trump is, by all accounts, handling the important task of selecting a new Supreme Court justice pretty much exactly how you’d expect him to: by constantly changing his mind and focusing on the dumbest possible details.
Four finalists to replace Anthony Kennedy have been floated repeatedly in the past few days: Judges Thomas Hardiman, Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge, and Amy Coney Barrett. (By Monday, Politico reported, the president was said to have narrowed his list to two: Kavanaugh and Hardiman.) Whoever Trump chooses will serve on the court for decades and have a chance to fundamentally reshape American jurisprudence in an even more conservative fashion.
In other words, it’s a big decision! So how is Trump going about making his mind up?
He’s thinking about important factors like “energy.” From the Wall Street Journal (emphasis mine):
Mr. Trump has also voiced reservations about another candidate, federal Judge Raymond Kethledge, believing he didn’t show the sort of energy the president likes to see in his appointees, one person close to the White House said.
As a candidate for president, Mr. Trump famously derided one of his Republican primary rivals, Jeb Bush, as “low energy.”
“Low energy”! Heaven forbid! Trump is also reportedly thinking about crucial issues like “do we have the same friends.” From the New York Times:
On one front he has been clear, however — while he admires Judge Kavanaugh’s credentials, he is also concerned by his work in the Bush administration.
Another vital qualification: “does my sister like him.” From Politico (emphasis mine):
Hardiman, 53, emerged late in the process as a strong contender. A judge on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, Hardiman enjoys a good rapport with Trump and is popular among gun-rights activists, a key part of the Trump base.
He was also the runner-up last year to Gorsuch and comes highly recommended by Maryanne Trump Barry, the president’s sister who serves on the 3rd Circuit alongside Hardiman.
Cool! Perhaps Trump is honing in on such minor questions because the bigger issues about each judge have already been answered. Whoever he picks is going to be a far right horror show, no matter what.