Progressive group releases Supreme Court shortlist for 2020 Democrats

Progressive group releases Supreme Court shortlist for 2020 Democrats
© Getty

A progressive activist group on Tuesday released a shortlist of potential Supreme Court nominees in an effort to push Democratic presidential contenders to make the court more of a focus of the 2020 primary campaign.

The list, released by the nonprofit Demand Justice, is also part of an effort to pressure Democrats to stop nominating corporate lawyers to the federal bench and instead fill vacancies with activists, academics and other progressive attorneys.


The group explained their philosophy in a statement, saying Republicans are “shredding the rule book” to create a court that “works for corporations.”

Nobody on the Demand Justice list has served as a partner at a corporate law firm or as an in-house lawyer at a major corporation.

“While Democrats play by the rules, Republicans are shredding the rule book, and the result is a partisan Supreme Court that works for corporations and the Republican Party and against everyone else,” Christopher Kang, the group's chief counsel, said in a statement.

“If we want to restore balance to our courts, we need to stop shying away from the fight for them and instead give progressives something to fight for: judges who have been bold, progressive champions who have been on the front lines advancing the law for our values.”

Demand Justice said that the diverse group on the shortlist is meant to counter the one President TrumpDonald TrumpMedia giants side with Bannon on request to release Jan. 6 documents Cheney warns of consequences for Trump in dealings with Jan. 6 committee Jan. 6 panel recommends contempt charges for Trump DOJ official MORE released during his 2016 campaign, which was comprised entirely of white, and mostly male, candidates.

A handful of the 32 names are sitting judges, including four who are already on the federal bench: Richard Boulware, a judge for the U.S. District Court in Nevada; Jane Kelly, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit; Cornelia Pillard, an appellate judge for the D.C. Circuit; and Carlton Reeves of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.

Other notable names include civil rights activists like Michelle Alexander, Bryan Stevenson and Vanita Gupta, who led the Obama Justice Department's civil rights division.

Some of the names are rising stars in the Democratic Party, including California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump's pre-debate COVID-19 test sparks criticism Biden unveils updated strategy to end HIV epidemic by 2030 Buttigieg has high name recognition, favorability rating in Biden Cabinet: survey MORE and freshman Rep. Katie Porter (Calif.).

Others are notable progressive lawyers from around the country, like Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, who has drawn nationwide attention for his criminal justice reform efforts that have put him at odds with local police and federal prosecutors.

Demand Justice urged Democratic primary candidates to address their plans for the Supreme Court by releasing their own shortlists of potential nominees.