President Donald Trump announced a list of 20 potential nominees to the Supreme Court Wednesday that includes U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

The president also named another Texan and Cruz protégé, James Ho, a judge on the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. He would be the first Asian American on the nation’s highest court.

There is no Supreme Court vacancy, but Trump has sought to assure his base that any possible future choices he made for a Supreme Court vacancy would be from a list of reliably conservative lawyers, especially after the administration lost two high court rulings in June.

Cruz, who was Trump’s closest rival for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, has since embraced the president’s policies but had not shown any interest, at least publicly, in being named to the court.

But in a statement, Cruz said he was “humbled” to be on the list of candidates.

“I am grateful for the president’s confidence in me and for his leadership in nominating principled constitutionalists to the federal bench over the last four years,” said Cruz. “As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I’ve been proud to help confirm to the bench over 200 of President Trump’s judicial nominees, including two to the Supreme Court. It’s humbling and an immense honor to be considered for the Supreme Court.”

Cruz, a Harvard Law School graduate, clerked for Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist and as Texas solicitor general argued before the court.

Trump has appointed two judges to the Supreme Court – Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

In addition to Cruz, other names on the list included Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkasas and Josh Hawley of Missouri.

“Every one of these individuals will ensure equal justice, equal treatment and equal rights for citizens of every race, color, religion and creed,” Trump said at the White House.

The health of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has been treated for cancer, has fueled speculation about a vacancy.

Abhi Rahman, spokesman for Texas Democratic Party, said: “Ted Cruz will never get the chance to be on the Supreme Court because Donald Trump will lose this election. If Democrats needed another reason to vote, here it is in plain sight. We have to win to keep fringe right wingers like Ted Cruz from entering a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court. We’re working everyday to do just that.”


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