Politico posted this story by Shane Goldmacher last night, entitled, “Trump’s sister weighs in on Supreme Court pick.” The story quotes one anonymous presidential advisor who said Judge Maryanne Trump Barry is “high on” Judge Thomas Hardiman and another who said it wouldn’t be fair to say that Barry is the only reason Hardiman has “juice on the list.” Neither fact is at all surprising.
From those quotes, Politico characterizes Barry as “a quiet but influential ally” of Hardiman’s nomination and mentions “the idea” that Barry “is among the president’s judicial counselors.” Neither characterization is clearly supported by the facts reported in the story.
I’m also quoted in the story. What I meant to give the reporter were boring observations that any two judges on the court work together regularly and that, if Judge Barry were supportive of Judge Hardiman then that could help explain why he’s apparently a finalist. I have no personal knowledge about Judge Barry’s role here or her view of Judge Hardiman, and I regret if my inartful quotes could be read to suggest otherwise.
In my view, there’s nothing remarkable about Trump soliciting Barry’s feedback about a judge sitting on the same court she does. Speaking with any of a judge’s colleagues should be a routine part of Supreme Court vetting. And it’s hardly a shock if Barry thinks highly of Hardiman, no doubt many judges do.
It’s all interesting to Third Circuit nerds, but I don’t think it’s big news. As Carrie Severino of Judicial Network says in the story, “If she wants to throw in ‘Tom Hardiman is a wonderful colleague,’ fine.”