President Donald Trump has named as many as five different women to his shortlist to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant after the death last week of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But a new report on one of his top contenders has some conservatives saying the president should look elsewhere.
According to Business Insider, Joan Larsen, a Michigan judge said to be on Trump’s Supreme Court shortlist, served as a volunteer for then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) during his failed 1987 presidential run.
The explosive news isn’t actually new, but rather, was first revealed when Larsen filled out a questionnaire for the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017 after President Trump nominated her to sit on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, according to the Washington Examiner.
Larsen had been asked if she ever held a leadership position in a political party or election committee. “To the best of my recollection, during the summer of 1987, I did some low-level volunteer work (stuffing envelopes, making phones calls) for the campaign in Iowa,” the judge explained of her time on Biden’s campaign, as Business Insider reported.
While that association with a Democratic campaign has raised some eyebrows among Republicans, it is worth noting that the 52-year-old judge was only about 19 at that time, and since then she has certainly burnished her conservative credentials.
Business Insider reported that Larsen went on to serve as a volunteer on Republican nominee Bob Dole’s failed presidential campaign in 1996 and, after graduating from Northwestern University’s law school, she clerked for a pair of conservative judges, including Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who Larsen views as her mentor and judicial role model.
She also is a member of and been recommended by both the Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation, and served in the Office of Legal Counsel for former President George W. Bush, according to the Washington Examiner.
On Trump’s list
Larsen was included on then-candidate Trump’s original list of potential Supreme Court nominees in 2016, but was passed over and instead confirmed to the 6th Circuit, which oversees federal cases in the states of Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee, according to Business Insider.
Prior to her ascension to the federal bench, she was a judge in Michigan who had served on the Michigan State Supreme Court.
According to the Washington Examiner, Larsen received high praise on her judicial abilities from former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bob Young, who recently told The Detroit News, “She tries to figure out what the law requires, and she does that. She pays attention to the words of contracts, statutes, and the Constitution, and she’s very meticulous about trying to figure out what that means.”
Young added of Larsen: “She doesn’t treat the Constitution as if it were a Rorschach inkblot, which has no independent meaning. In that sense, she’s properly considered a careful, thoughtful judge.”
It remains to be seen who Trump will ultimately nominate to fill Ginsburg’s shoes. According to ABC News, Judge Amy Coney Barrett is said to be at the top of the president’s list. His final pick will reportedly be announced Saturday.