A review of the “Trump 25” reveals a list of several nominees with records remarkably similar to those currently serving on the Supreme Court. For example, 23 of the 25 potential nominees currently serve as judges in lower courts. From this number, 15 are currently in the U.S. Court of Appeals. To compare, seven of the eight current justices (excluding Justice Kennedy) served in the Court of Appeals before their nominations, with Justice Elena Kagan as the only exception.
In addition to serving as judges, most of the Trump 25 served as law clerks early in their legal careers. Eighteen clerked in federal courts, including ten who clerked for Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices. (Notably, two potential nominees – Brett Kavanaugh and Raymond Kethledge – clerked for retiring Justice Kennedy himself.) Likewise, six of the eight current justices clerked in the federal courts, and four (Roberts, Breyer, Kagan and Gorsuch) clerked in the Supreme Court.But there are differences, including educational background.
The current justices have remarkably similar educational backgrounds: seven of the eight current justices received law degrees from either Harvard or Yale. (And Justice Ginsburg—the only current justice not to do so—attended Harvard before transferring to Columbia.) In contrast, most of the Trump 25 have non-Ivy League backgrounds and attended schools such as University of Oklahoma, University of Kansas, Marquette, Tulane, University of Miami and the University of Georgia.