Who is Joan Larsen, former Michigan judge on Trump's short list for Supreme Court nominee

Posted at 6:07 PM, Jul 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-03 18:07:48-04

Michigan is once again in the spotlight with President Trump, as he looks for a Supreme Court pick.

Trump is expected to meet with former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen.

He just appointed Joan Larsen to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals about eight months ago. Now, she could be poised to be his choice to succeed Justice Kennedy when he retires at the end of July.

After just two years on the Michigan Supreme Court bench in Lansing, the president appointed Judge Joan Larsen to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati last November.

Now, the former University of Michigan law professor appears to be on a short list for the very court where she once clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia.

“It’s really hands-on work, and work at the very highest level of American law,” said University of Detroit Mercy Law Professor Richard Broughton. Broughton says even though Larsen has a lot of experience, she doesn’t have years of judicial opinions that will give us insight into her positions on key issues.

“On the one hand, not having a really long judicial paper trail obviously gives your critics less ammunition," Broughton said. "But at the same time, the president has indicated that he’s actually looking at people who have a body of some writing."

Broughton added that the 49-year-old will likely face questions about her work in the Bush Administration.

“She was there in the Office of Legal Counsel, which issues opinions on very important high-level constitutional matters for the President of the United States, and this was right after the September 11 attacks,” Broughton said.

He told 7 Action News that Trump’s choice has the potential to be a once in a generation selection.

“It was Justice Kennedy’s position on some of these hot-button social and cultural issues like abortion rights and capital punishment and affirmative action, where now it isn’t clear where the new appointee will be and what the consequences of that appointment are going to be for the future of those issues,” Broughton said.

There are two other judges under consideration who also have Michigan ties. The president is expected to make an announcement by July 9.