Presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy released a list of judges Monday that he will consider for top judicial appointments should he become president of the United States.

Ramaswamy’s list of Supreme Court candidates includes James Ho of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit; Lawrence VanDyke of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit; Lisa Branch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit; Thomas Hardiman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit; Justin Walker of the U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit; and John Bush of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

Ramaswamy also included Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas on that list, as well as former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement.

“Our courts are the last line of defense against an increasingly hostile federal government that seeks to curtail our freedoms,” Ramaswamy said in a statement. “That’s why it’s more important than ever that we elect a president who will appoint judges and justices to the federal bench to safeguard the values and ideals our nation was founded on.” 

“The list I’m unveiling today consists of some of our nation’s brightest judicial minds,” he added. “These men and women are committed to our Constitution, the rule of law, and individual liberty. I will rely on this short list when deciding who to appoint to the highest courts in our land.”

Ramaswamy speaks at the Turning Point Action USA conference in West Palm Beach, Florida, on July 15, 2023. (Photo: Giorgio Viera/AFP/Getty Images)

As for appellate court candidates, Ramaswamy lists Martha Pacold of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois; Sarah Pitlyk of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri; Kathryn Mizelle of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida; Matthew Kacsmaryk of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas; Brantley Starr of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas; Stephen Alexander Vaden of the U.S. Court of International Trade; and Ryan Holte of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

Ramaswamy’s team compiled the list with a “focus on selecting candidates who exemplify an unwavering dedication to the principles of originalism and are committed to a constitutionalist judicial philosophy,” according to a campaign release.

The Daily Signal has learned that he sought the advice of conservative legal organizations and nonprofits that asked not to be named.

The presidential candidate spoke over the weekend at the Turning Point Action Conference in Palm Beach, Florida. A straw poll conducted by the Trafalgar Group found that only 2% of attendees would choose Ramaswamy as their first pick for president from the GOP field. Former President Donald Trump garnered 85.7% of the attendee votes, and candidates Perry Johnson, a businessman, and Ron DeSantis, Florida governor, polled at 7.8% and 4.3%, respectively.

Interestingly, 51.2% of attendees at the conference said Ramaswamy would be their second choice for president from the GOP field—over Trump at 21.4% and DeSantis at 13.5%.

“Pretty remarkable how far he’s come in a very short amount of time,” Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk said Sunday.

And “MAGA” voices in the movement seem squarely behind Ramaswamy—retired United States Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, Kirk, and others showed support for the candidate over the weekend.

During an interview with The Daily Signal on Saturday, Kirk described Ramaswamy as “the best-performing candidate” at Friday’s town hall with Tucker Carlson. The Turning Point USA founder rejected the idea of Ramaswamy as a potential vice president to Trump, but suggested Ramaswamy would make a good presidential chief of staff.

“I think he reads the room really, really well … he’s a master tactician, really understands the details, he’s built a phenomenal business,” Kirk said. “But I am enthusiastically behind Vivek being on the team to save America.”


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