President Donald Trump has added 20 names to a list of potential nominees for the U.S. Supreme Court, including two Missouri residents.

The list, which Trump has been compiling since 2016, now includes Sen. Josh Hawley, R-MO, and Judge Sarah Pitlyk, the president announced at a news conference Wednesday.

Hawley quickly turned to Twitter to deny interest in the position.

"I have no interest in the high court," Hawley said in a tweet.

Hawley has served as Missouri's junior Senator since January 2019, having defeated incumbent Claire McCaskill in 2018. Hawley was the state's Attorney General from January 2017 until the beginning of his Senate term.

He received his law degree from Yale University and previously clerked for Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. According to reporting from The New York Times, while at Yale, Hawley led the school's chapter of The Federalist Society — a conservative legal organization that reportedly holds significant influence in Trump's judicial nomination process. Hawley remains a member of the group.

Unlike Hawley, Pitlyk would be no stranger to the federal nomination and confirmation process. In September 2019 she was nominated by Trump to be a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in December by a margin of 49-44.

Pitlyk also received her law degree from Yale University and is a member of the Federalist Society.

Trump used the news conference to highlight the difference between the kinds of judges on his list and those who might be nominated by his presidential opponent Joe Biden, whom Trump has criticized for being too liberal.

"Unfortunately, there is a growing radical left movement that rejects the principle of equal treatment under the law," Trump said. "If this extreme movement is granted a majority on the Supreme Court, it will fundamentally transform America without a single vote of Congress."

  • State Government and General Assignment Reporter, Fall 2020. Studying Print & Digital News Reporting and Religious Studies. Reach me at wickerperlis@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 573-882-5700

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