Duke Law grad on Trump’s SCOTUS list

Donald Trump walks on stage during a campaign rally on Wednesday

NEW YORK – Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump released a list of 11 judges he would consider to take the vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, including one with ties to North Carolina.

Texas Supreme Court Justin Don Willett, who received his law degree from Duke, was among those listed by Trump as a possible replacement for Antonin Scalia, who died suddenly on Feb. 13, on the nation’s highest court.

Republicans in Congress have promised to block any nominees presented by President Barack Obama, citing the unwritten Biden Rule — named after then-Senator and current Vice President Joe Biden — who said that an outgoing, or “lame duck,” president should not appoint a new Supreme Court justice in an election year. Obama’s nomination of appeals judge Merrick Garland has been blocked by Senate Republicans.

Two months ago Trump promised to deliver a list of potential candidates. He released the list today and it includes six federal judges who were appointed by former President George W. Bush and five state Supreme Court justices.

Willett is a Texas native who went to in-state Baylor University before coming to Duke, where he earned his law degree and master’s degree in political science in 1992. His Twitter handle, @JusticeWillett, had nearly 37,000 followers as of Wednesday afternoon. Willett is known for his witty banter on the social media site, which has ironically even included several jabs at Trump, as pointed out by MotherJones.com.

The other 11 potential nominees mentioned by Trump were: Steven Colloton of Iowa; Allison Eid of Colorado; Raymond Gruender of Missouri; Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania; Raymond Kethledge of Michigan; Joan Larsen of Michigan; Thomas Lee of Utah; William Pryor of Alabama; David Stras of Minnesota and Diane Sykes of Wisconsin.