Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday released the names of 11 potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees that he would choose from to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
The list, first reported by the Associated Press, includes judges from around the country: Steven Colloton of Iowa, Allison Eid of Colorado and Raymond Gruender of Missouri, Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania, Raymond Kethledge of Michigan, Joan Larsen of Michigan, Thomas Lee of Utah, William Pryor of Alabama, David Stras of Minnesota, Diane Sykes of Wisconsin and Don Willett of Texas.
Trump previously mentioned Pryor and Sykes -- both nominated to federal appeals courts by President George W. Bush -- during a debate in February.
In a statement, Trump called Scalia "a Justice who did not believe in legislating from the bench and he is a person whom I held in the highest regard and will always greatly respect his intelligence and conviction to uphold the Constitution of our country."
He added that the names on his list are "representative of the kind of constitutional principles I value and, as president, I plan to use this list as a guide to nominate our next United States Supreme Court Justices.”
A far-right list of potential justices is something social conservatives have been clamoring for, telling NBC News repeatedly that it was key to rallying the conservative movement behind a candidate who hasn’t always shared their views. In the 1990s, Trump told reporters that he was "very pro-choice."
“This is really important,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, a socially conservative group that campaigned against Trump in the primary. “If this turns out to be people that we see as constitutionalist and who have a right view of the issue of life, it will be very exciting to our base.”
She didn’t immediately recognize most of the names on Trump's list, but said that his preferences could shore up his anti-abortion credentials among movement conservatives and calm anxieties on the right. "Behind the scenes, there’s conversations going on about assurances from Donald Trump on his position on social issues — specifically on the issue of life and particularly on Supreme Court nominees," Nance added.
Back in March, Trump told reporters he would publicly release the list. The nominee to replace the conservative Scalia has been a rallying cry for both Republicans and Democrats when talking about the stakes of the general election.
President Barack Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy on March 16. The Republican-controlled Senate has blocked the picked, arguing Scalia's seat should remain vacant until after the presidential election.
“I’m going to submit a list of justices, potential justices of the United States Supreme Court, that I will appoint from the list,” Trump said in March. “I won’t go beyond that list. Some people say maybe I’ll appoint a liberal judge. I’m not appointing a liberal judge.”
—Jane C. Timm contributed reporting to this article.