I noted yesterday that Chuck Grassley finally appears ready to clear the backlog in Judiciary Committee hearings on Appeals and District court judicial nominees, by preventing withholding of “blue slips” from becoming de facto filibusters, Chuck Grassley rips up “blue slip” stall, Al Franken left groping for alternative delay tactic.

It then will be up to Mitch McConnell to get nominees floor votes, and to overcome Democrat stalling tactics to draw out each nominee, even the ones they don’t oppose. The goal has to be:

Every single vacant seat should be filled as quickly as possible. Some progress is not good enough. Grassley and McConnell need to clear all roadblocks, and Trump needs to fill the pipeline.

At the same time that appeals and District Court nominees are pushed through the pipeline, the Trump administration is preparing for the next Supreme Court nomination. We don’t know when that will be, but the prevailing wisdom is that Justice Kennedy will retire after this term ends in June. With the filibuster gone, there isn’t much Democrats can do to stop a nominee so long as the nominee has solid Republican support. So it’s important that someone of high caliber be nominated so that no Republicans succumb to the inevitable media pressure, and their own weak knees.

That will be even more important if the nomination is replacing someone other than Kennedy. If Ruth Bader Ginsburg were to leave the Supreme Court, and Trump were to nominate a replacement, it would be liberals’ nightmare.

Trump today took a big step towards preparing for the next Supreme Court fight, adding 5 conservative judges to the Supreme Court shortlist, Reuters reports:

In a move certain to please conservatives, President Donald Trump on Friday added five names to his list of candidates for a prospective U.S. Supreme Court vacancy as he presses ahead with a campaign to move the federal judiciary to the right.

Two of them are appellate judges who were nominated by Trump earlier this year and confirmed by the Senate: Amy Coney Barrett and Kevin Newsom. Another, Brett Kavanaugh, sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, long viewed as a stepping-stone to the high court.

The others were Britt Grant, a Georgia Supreme Court justice, and Patrick Wyrick, a Oklahoma Supreme Court justice.

John Malcolm of The Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal is literally jumping for joy. Okay, not *literally* but figuratively, Meet These 5 Stellar Conservatives Trump Just Added to His Supreme Court List:

On Friday, President Donald Trump announced the addition of five individuals to his outstanding list of potential candidates for a future Supreme Court vacancy.

As was the case with the lists Trump put out during his presidential campaign, these new additions to the list are conservative men and women who are committed to interpreting the Constitution according to its original public meaning.

Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute, provided the following comment in reaction:

These are stellar additions to the existing list of Supreme Court potentials. They show that the administration’s judicial-nominations team continues to be serious about picking people who are widely respected for their intellectual rigor and commitment to the rule of law. The inclusion of two more state justices—and only one from Washington (or anywhere in the Acela corridor)—also shows the national scope of the search for legal talent. Not everyone will agree with everything these jurists have written, but nobody can doubt that they are eminently qualified to join the highest court in the land.

The Catholic Association is particularly happy that Amy Barrett, who was attacked during confirmation hearings for her Catholicism, is on the list. In an emailed statement, Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, Policy Advisor with TCA said:

“We welcome the inclusion of Amy Barrett’s name on the list of possible Supreme Court nominees released today. Her commitment to a jurisprudence guided by restraint and faithfulness to the Constitution is one which would adorn the Supreme Court, and help to protect the American people from the kind of activist court rulings that have been too common in the past. Her impeccable resume, including her tenure as law professor at Notre Dame, and her perfect poise in the face of a bigoted attack by Senate Democrats during her confirmation hearing for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals have shown us she is eminently qualified for the highest judicial post in the land.”

Conservative law Twitter also is happy. Carrie Severino of The Judicial Crisis Network prepared biographical links:

Today President Trump has announced an expansion of his list of potential Supreme Court nominees for the next opening. It includes excellent federal and state court judges, including two that Trump himself nominated. All have strong records of a principled approach to judging and represent rising stars in the judiciary. Below are links to bios of the new members of the list.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett

Justice Britt Grant

Judge Brett Kavanaugh

Judge Kevin Newsom

Justice Patrick Wyrick