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Trump out of picks

What would it take for President Donald Trump to get yet another Supreme Court pick? Probably the death of a justice.

Trump has speculated that he could appoint a majority of the nine-member court. But it has been three decades since a president has been able to name more than two justices to their life-tenured posts, and Trump tied that number this week. The court's oldest remaining justices, two liberals and a conservative who are 85, 79 and 70, haven't suggested they're going anywhere and appear in fine health.

That hasn't stopped Trump and others from predicting more openings.

"This could be the presidency with the most Supreme Court picks of any presidency in history," Trump said during an appearance in Virginia more than a year before becoming president. "You'll probably have three. You could have four and you could even have five."

Five would still be a far cry from George Washington, who named the entire first Supreme Court and ultimately made 11 appointments. Franklin Roosevelt, with his unparalleled four terms as president, made nine.

With Senate Republicans holding open the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia until after the presidential election, Trump was assured his first pick even before he took office. Senators quickly confirmed his nominee, Neil Gorsuch. With the Senate still under Republican control, 51-49, it would seem Trump's second choice, Brett Kavanaugh, is on his way to replacing retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

The last president to fill more than two Supreme Court vacancies was Ronald Reagan, who filled three. Reagan chose Scalia, Kennedy and Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman on the court. He also elevated William Rehnquist from an associate justice to chief.

Ever since, circumstances have meant that presidents have been able to fill just two openings each. George H.W. Bush put David Souter and Clarence Thomas on the court in his one term in office.



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