A MN man on the US Supreme Court? Maybe under President Trump


A whole lot of people who didn't know David R. Stras Thursday morning are probably suddenly Googling him.

Stras is an associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, a spot he's held since 2010 and will continue to hold until his term ends in 2019.

Unless, that is, he gets plucked for a gig on the national stage by Donald J. Trump.

Trump, who seems to have locked up the Republican Party's presidential nomination, released a list of people Thursday he'd consider for the current opening on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Stras is one of the 11 people on that list, which Trump says was put together "first and foremost, based on constitutional principles, with input from highly respected conservatives and Republican Party leadership."

Before being named to the associate justice position by former Governor and Republican Tim Pawlenty in 2010, Stras taught and wrote about constitutional law, and for a time served as co-director of the Institute for Law and Politics at the University of Minnesota, according to his bio. You can read more about Stras' history in this tribute.

If he were nominated by hypothetical future president Trump, and then approved by the U.S. Senate, Stras would fill the seat opened by the sudden death of former Justice Antonin Scalia earlier this year.

There are also U.S. Court of Appeals judges from Wisconsin (Diane Sykes) and Iowa (Steven Colloton) on Trump's shortlist.

This might not matter – at all

It's worth noting there may not even be an opening on the Supreme Court when the next president is elected. (CNN said putting out the type of list Trump did is an "unusual move" for a presidential candidate.)

President Barack Obama has officially suggested Merrick Garland for the spot – described as a "centrist" judge who has decades of experience.

If Garland gets the OK from the Republican-controlled Senate before November, then that open seat isn't open anymore.

But that hasn't happened

The Supreme Court, with the current opening, is made up of four justices seen as conservative, and four justices seen as liberal. So this ninth justice could essentially be the tiebreaker vote on heavily debated issues, Forbes says.

Obama argues the Constitution says it's the president's job to appoint a Supreme Court nominee, and so he's just doing his job.

But some Republicans argue Obama shouldn't pick the next justice since he'll be out of the office next January. And since they control the Senate, they could reject Garland and hope a Republican wins the White House in November – leading to a more conservative justice nominee.

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