WASHINGTON − As he prepares to officially enter the 2024 presidential race, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is seeking to counter former President Donald Trump on an important issue to conservative primary voters: the Supreme Court.
While using some uncertain calculations, DeSantis said the next Republican president could forge a 7-2 Supreme Court conservative majority via departures of three or four sitting justices.
In a Monday speech to the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Orlando, DeSantis speculated that as many as four justices could retire in the next eight years: Republican appointees Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and John Roberts, and Democratic appointee Sonia Sotomayor.
“It is possible that in those eight years we would have the opportunity to fortify justices Alito and Thomas, as well as actually make improvements with those others, and if you were able to do that then you would have a 7-2 conservative majority,” DeSantis said.
There is no way to know if DeSantis’ comment will come to pass. Justices retire on their own terms, barring death as happened to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2020.
It would also be unusual for a justice appointed by a Democratic president to retire during a Republican administration, and vice-versa.
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DeSantis’ comments seemed to be designed to answer Trump, who has made the conservative-dominated Supreme Court a plank in his 2024 platform.
During his four-year term in office, Trump appointed three Supreme Court justices: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. All three voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, allowing states to pass anti-abortion laws. Trump appointees have also forged conservative majorities on rulings that ranged from gun rights to religious freedoms.
These kinds of rulings “were only made possible because I delivered everything as promised, including nominating and getting three highly respected and strong Constitutionalists confirmed to the United States Supreme Court,” Trump said after the Roe decision was made last year.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ron DeSantis, like Donald Trump, wants more conservative Supreme Court