NC native on President Donald Trump's Supreme Court justice shortlist

Wednesday, September 23, 2020
NC native on President Donald Trump's Supreme Court justice shortlist
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At 38 years old, Allison Jones Rushing would be the youngest Supreme Court justice if she is nominated and confirmed.

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A North Carolina native made President Donald Trump's shortlist to succeed Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose death was announced Friday evening, on the US Supreme Court.

Allison Jones Rushing is from Hendersonville in Western North Carolina, and at 38 years old she would be the youngest Supreme Court justice if she is nominated and confirmed.

Rushing is a former Duke Law student and clerked under Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Neil Gorsuch before he was nominated to the nation's highest court.

Both Thomas and Gorsuch have conservative views on issues like abortion, affirmative action, prayer in schools and LGBT rights.

Trump appointed Rushing to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va. last year. She was confirmed by the Senate in March of 2019.

WATCH: President Trump vows to pick a woman as Supreme Court nominee

"It will be a woman. A very talented, very brilliant woman. Who I haven't chosen yet, but we have numerous women on the list," Trump told the Fayetteville crowd on Saturday night.

Though some experts said Rushing doesn't have much experience, UNC Law professor Michael Gerhardt, who has served as special counsel for Democrats during Senate judiciary committee hearings for Supreme Court nominations since 2009, said her experience wouldn't matter much if she is the nominee.

"I think the nature of judicial appointments has changed over the years. Thirty or more years ago, we would have considered something called merit, based on experience and based on your actual practice of law," Gerhardt said. "But over the last few years, particularly under President Trump, experience doesn't matter at all. There's no such thing as merit. The thing that counts most is ideology. How you look at the Constitution now, how you're performing cases. Do you have the judicial temperament? Or if you've had experience arguing in courts."

RELATED: Justice Ginsburg to lie in repose at Supreme Court building for public viewing

Less than two months remain until the presidential election on November 3.

Supreme Court nominations have previously taken approximately 70 days to move through the Senate, and the last, for Justice Brett Kavanaugh, took longer.

Traditionally, the nominee will go to the Capitol to meet with Senators ahead of scheduled hearings.

The hearings could be scheduled over the course of two weeks by Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, who is chair of the 22 member judiciary committee.

Senator Thom Tillis, who is up for reelection, sits on this committee.

If the committee approves Trump's nominee, then the decision would go before a full Senate vote, led by Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell.

Andrew Taylor, a North Carolina State University political science professor, said these hearings could have political consequences for senators up for re-election like Tillis, and for the Biden and Trump campaigns.

"It's possible that Trump will get his pick and lose the election, perhaps as a result of it. Or it's possible--it's going to be hard for the Democrats. There is no filibuster now in the Senate for Supreme Court nominations, and so in the minority it's going to be tough for them. But maybe somehow Democrats are able to block this, and then it hurts them in the election, and Trump gets re-elected. There's all these interesting possibilities," Taylor said.

President Trump said he will announce his choice by the end of the week.