Who Will Trump’s Candidates for Cabinet and Supreme Court Be?
After Trump’s upset victory, politicians, investors and global citizens are watching with anxiety to see who Trump will choose to have around him. This is important since Trump is given the opportunity to solidify the conservative presence in all facets of the juridical and political life. With a Republican majority in Congress, the Senate and now the Supreme Court, and with a series of anti-abortion, anti-climate change and anti-intellectuals making their way into Trump’s inner circle, this is looking ominous.
In the case of the Supreme Court, the conservative majority will be able to support gun rights or uphold abortion restrictions. Trump will have the freedom to defend or repeal policies, threatening years of progressive politics.
Trump has proposed a list of 21 potential nominees, but replacing the late Justice Antonin Scalia (d. 13 Feb 2016), he will need to find someone who will be able to respond to the task. Steve Vladeck, CNN contributor and professor of law at the University of Texas School of Law, said: "The real question to which we may now find out the answer is just how serious Mr. Trump was about replacing Justice Scalia with a judge cut from the same cloth, and how much pressure he'll receive from Republicans in the Senate to stick to his original list -- or a judge with similarly conservative credentials.”
In May, Trump released a list of 11 judges: 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, Diane Sykes of Wisconsin and Don Willett of Texas. For example, Pryor believes that the Supreme Court’s rule on the issue of abortion as a woman’s private decision, known as Row v. Wade, is an “abomination.”
When his list was criticised of consisting of white men, he proceeded to add: US District Court Judge Amul Thapar (South Asian), Robert Young, the Michigan Supreme Court's chief justice (African-American), Judge Margaret Ryan, a military veteran and a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Armed forces and Senator Mike Lee of Utah, is not a judge, but a close friend of Trump’s primary rival Senator Ted Cruz.
Trump’s nominee will be considered by a Republican-controlled Senate. He will also be able to make further appointments. This will mean that he can strengthen the court’s conservative wing. This Republican majority "could be a threat to important rights that have been protected in the past by the Supreme Court," said Elizabeth Wydra, president of the liberal legal group Constitutional Accountability Center. From ruling against abortion rights and racial equality issues, to defending the death penalty and gun rights, the political landscape could easily become less liberal.
The Cabinet of the United States
The cabinet comprises of the five people who will be the closest to Trump, giving advice and assistance in his political duties. Cabinet members consist of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of War, Attorney General and Postmaster General.
There is speculation that candidates for cabinet secretaries and advisers for Trump’s government will include: Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a crucial adviser on policy issues; Steven Mnuchin, a businessman and a former Goldman Sachs banker who was Mr. Trump’s national finance chairman; He could possibly become treasury secretary. Rudolph W. Giuliani, a former mayor of New York; Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey; and Newt Gingrich, a former speaker of the House.
The former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and the neurosurgeon Ben Carson could also get major positions. Mike Pence will probably get another important role.
For the White House chief of staff, reports are pointing to Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chair.
Let’s see some of the big contesters:
• Mike Pence: will be the Vice-President. He is a Christian conservative. But there is a glimpse of hope, since Pence didn’t defend Trump’s position of deporting immigrants or his praise for Putin.
• Senator Jeff Sessions: He is the junior United States Senator from Alabama. In 2007, the National Journal voted him as the fifth most-conservative US Senator. He supported George W. Bush’s tax cut packages, the Iraq War, and a proposed national amendment to ban same-sex marriage. While Mike Pence was the one selected as a running mate for Trump in the 2016 election, Sessions was also considered. He could join as the Secretary of Defense.
• Steven Mnuchin: He could be the next Treasury Secretary. He manages the hedge fund Dune Capital. Mnuchin made a fortune at Goldman Sachs, donated to Clinton, and worked for a George Soros’ funded firm. Trump attacked him in the past, suing his company in 2008 for a building deal. Mnuchin was the chairman of OneWest Bank which he sold in 2015. In 2009, OneWest was involved in a series of lawsuits over controversial foreclosures, and settled several cases for millions of dollars. According to one lawsuit, OneWest caused the US government to pay out $206 million under a federal program to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. How can the chairman of a bank which violated the terms of a government programme by increasing the debt of borrowers without any explanation, be considered for the position of economic adviser to the President? Perhaps for the same reasons that Trump is now the President-elect.
• Newt Gingrich: The former Republican House Speaker and presidential candidate could be the next Secretary of State, according to this list released by BuzzFeed News. Gingrich is very dangerous and unorthodox. He has made some pretty crazy and outrageous claims: “By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon. And it will be American.” On Hurricane Katrina, he said: “22,000 people were so uneducated and so unprepared, they literally couldn’t get out of the way of a hurricane.”
• Gov. Chris Christie or New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani might be the next Attorney General. Two of Christie’s former aides were found guilty of fraud in a case of a New Jersey town’s blocked road access. The scandal was named Bridgegate or Fort Lee Lane closure scandal and involved traffic jams in Fort Lee, NJ, in September 2013. The federal investigation damaged Christie’s political integrity and led him to drop out of the 2016 presidential race.
• The 74-year-old Forrest Lucas of Lucas Oil company might be the Interior Secretary. Donald Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., is said to be eyeing the job too.
• Billionaire investor, Wilbur Ross could be the Commerce Secretary.
It is probably indicative of Trump’s administration that the Education Secretary might be a role of the past, since he has suggested that he may do away with it completely.
We would like to wish all these candidates good luck because, as Trump admits himself, he likes acting as an "army of one" – trusting his own judgment. In his book "Think Like a Billionaire," he also describes himself as a "screamer", not afraid to rebuke his associates.