Ahead of an expected White House bid in the coming days, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis spelled out the possibility to build a “7-2 conservative majority” on the US Supreme Court.
The Republican pointed to four justices – three appointed by Republican presidents – who he believed are poised to leave the bench during the next eight or nine years, during a speech at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Orlando on Monday.
“If you look over the next two presidential terms there is a good chance that you could be called upon to seek replacements for Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito. And the issue with that is you can’t really do better than those two. They are the gold standard for jurisprudence, so you gotta make sure that we are appointing people as close to that standard as possible,” DeSantis said, referring to two conservative stalwarts.
Alito is 73, Thomas is 74.
DeSantis also highlighted what he sees as a potential opportunity to replace conservative Chief Justice John Roberts, 68, or liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor, 68, to cement a conservative majority for years. The court currently has a 6-3 conservative supermajority.
“If you replace a Clarence Thomas with someone like a Roberts or somebody like that then you’re actually gonna see the court move to the left, and you can’t do that. I also think if you look over those eight years, you very well could be called upon to replace Chief Justice John Roberts, and perhaps even, someone like Justice Sotomayor,” DeSantis said.
“So, 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 on the Supreme Court that would last a quarter century, so this is big stuff,” he added.
As governor, DeSantis spoke about tilting the Florida Supreme Court to a conservative majority, with the help of age limits.
“We have age limits for justices,” DeSantis said. “The minute I got elected to office, three of the four liberal justices were off the court, because of age. So, I was able in my first term of office to replace three liberal justices with three conservative justices.”
He teased another judicial appointment this week to replace a retiring conservative justice.
“I will have ended up doing seven appointments throughout my tenure,” DeSantis said. “Judicial activism in Florida is now officially dead.”
Like all federal judges, Supreme Court justices are appointed for life.