The Slatest

Donald Trump Just Proposed Diane Sykes and Bill Pryor for the Supreme Court. Who Are They?

“We could have a Diane Sykes or a Bill Pryor, we have some fantastic people.”

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

At the Republican debate Saturday night, in response to a question about filling the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Donald Trump said, “If I were president now, I would certainly want to try and nominate a justice. And I’m absolutely sure that president Obama will try and do it. I hope that our Senate, Mitch and the entire group, is going to be able to do something about it in terms of delay. We could have a Diane Sykes or a Bill Pryor, we have some fantastic people. But this is a blow to conservatism. It’s a tremendous blow, frankly, to our country.” So who are Diane Sykes and Bill Pryor?

They’re conservative federal justices. Both were nominated to federal appeals courts by George W. Bush, Sykes to the 7th Circuit and Pryor to the 11th Circuit. Pryor’s appointment was blocked by Senate Democrats, who cited his description of Roe v. Wade as “the worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.” Bush subsequently installed him in a recess appointment, bypassing the confirmation process.

Both frequently appear on conservative Supreme Court shortlists—meaning that Trump’s shoutout was not one of his frequent heresies against right-wing orthodoxy.