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DACA supporters rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Top aides and advisers to President Trump have been urging him to put together a new list of Supreme Court Justices ahead of the November election in an effort to pump up his base and remind them why a Republican needs to remain in the White House, people familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Behind the scenes: Discussions among Trump administration officials, Senate Judiciary staff and outside groups ramped up after Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump's first SCOTUS nominee, delivered the majority decision prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

  • The impetus to revise the list was compounded by the Supreme Court's Thursday ruling that the Trump administration violated federal law in the way it tried to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).
  • Shortly after, Trump tweeted that he "will be releasing a new list of Conservative Supreme Court Justice nominees, which may include some, or many of those already on the list, by September 1, 2020."
  • Many aides were taken aback by the president's decision to tweet about the list on Thursday, given that they'd not given a heads up to key outside people typically involved in these talks.
  • His tweeting "probably caught number of people a little bit by surprise," one Trump adviser said.

What they're saying: "The idea for a new list has been floating around for a while, but the DACA ruling might’ve fueled the desire for more originalist justices," an administration official told Axios.

  • The official said the tweet was likely a reflexive reaction from Trump, who wanted to show voters that he's still committed to putting conservative justices on the bench.
  • "There’s a danger that people who voted for you get demoralized," with rulings like the recent ones, a White House official said. In 2016, the official said, Trump's pitch included playing to conservative bona fides. This year, he wants to show he's still committed to that cause.

Who might be on it: Discussions are still the in early stage, people familiar with the process say.

  • The Federalist Society's Leonard Leo, who helped Trump compile his list at the start of his presidency, said he was "surprised" by the president's Thursday tweet, but added that a new list makes sense.
  • “The President seems open to considering names from the current list, which includes people like Amy Coney Barrett, Mike Lee, and Amul Thapar, but his decision to expand the list is a great idea because he’s put so many other great people on the court of appeals bench. He can leverage all that talent, and strike some new ground," Leo said.
  • One source familiar with discussions say the list may be adjusted to remove some older candidates and replace them with potential nominees who are younger, women or people of color.

Why it matters: The presidential election may elevate the issue for voters.

  • "The Supreme Court will once again be an election year issue as it was four years ago," former Solicitor General Ken Starr said on Fox News Friday.

Go deeper

Sep 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Amy Coney Barrett says Trump offered her nomination 3 days after Ginsburg's death

Barrett speaks after being nominated to the US Supreme Court by President Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House. Photo:; Olivier Douliery/AFP

Amy Coney Barrett said in a questionnaire released by the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday that President Trump offered her the Supreme Court nomination on Sept. 21, five days before he announced the pick to the public.

Why it matters: According to the questionnaire, Trump offered Barrett the nomination just three days after Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, suggesting that the president knew early on that Barrett was his pick. Minutes after offering Barrett the nomination, however, Trump told reporters that he had not made up his mind and that five women were on the shortlist.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Updated Sep 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

The first Trump v. Biden presidential debate was a hot mess

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

This debate was like the country: Everybody’s talking. Nobody’s listening. Nothing is learned. It’s a mess.

  • We were told President Trump would be savage. Turned out, that was a gross understatement. Even the moderator, Fox News' Chris Wallace, got bulldozed.

Why it matters: Honestly, who the hell knows?

Sep 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump's debate cleanup

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump's advisers feel the president needs to outright condemn far-right extremists and white supremacy during his rally tonight in Minnesota.

Why it matters: Trump sent shockwaves during the debate for telling the far-right Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by."