Georgetown University Law Center is an easy 15-minute walk to the U.S. Supreme Court building, yet the elite law school has never sent an alum to the high court in its 148-year history.
That could soon change, should Judge Thomas Hardiman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit be nominated by President Donald Trump to the seat vacated by the retiring Anthony Kennedy. Hardiman is said to be among the four finalists Trump is considering for the post. The president is slated to name his pick at 9 p.m. this evening on live television.
The University of Notre Dame Law School could also see its first Supreme Court Justice alum should Amy Coney Barrett get the nod. The Indiana law school has over the years produced state Supreme Court justices, U.S. senators, and several governors, but never a member of the nation’s highest court.
The University of Michigan Law School—alma mater of short-listed Judge Raymond Kethledge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit—has sent several alumni to the Supreme Court, but the prestigious Ann Arbor, Michigan, institution has been in a slump of late. Its last alum to ascend to the court was 1914 graduate Frank Murphy, who served from 1940 to 1949.
It will be business as usual for Yale Law School should Trump nominate Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia—a 1990 graduate. The top-ranked school has had 10 alumni on the court, including three of the sitting justices: Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Sonia Sotomayor. Each of the current justices attended either Yale or Harvard Law School, prompting criticism that the most powerful court in the nation lacks educational diversity. (Ruth Bader Ginsburg graduated from Columbia Law School but began her legal studies at Harvard.)
The absence of Georgetown Law from the Supreme Court rolls is particularly curious, given its location, prominent status, and the fact that it traditionally graduates one of the largest classes of new attorneys each year. Two justices, Antonin Scalia and Edward Douglass White, attended Georgetown as undergraduates but went elsewhere for law school.
Hardiman, who was also a finalist for the nomination that went to Neil Gorsuch last year, graduated from Georgetown Law in 1990 and was a member of the school’s flagship law journal as well as its moot court team.
Barrett’s ties to Notre Dame run deep. She graduated with her Juris Doctor in 1997, went on to clerk for Scalia at the Supreme Court, and returned to teach at the law school in 2002. She left Notre Dame last year after being confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
Some of her former students have supported her possible nomination, saying she was a mentor on campus and calling her “remarkably fair-minded and smart.”
Kavanaugh, Kethledge and Barrett had been considered by pundits as the front runners for the open Supreme Court seat, but Hardiman appears to have gained favor with Trump in recent days. According to The New York Times, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Trump that Kethledge and Hardiman would face fewer hurdles in the confirmation process.