The Florida governor is widely expected to announce his candidacy for president this week
Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor who is expected to challenge Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination next year, has suggested that he could oversee achieving a 7-2 conservative majority on the US Supreme Court, which he envisions "would last for a quarter-century."
Speaking on Monday to the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Orlando, Florida, DeSantis said there is a "good chance" that conservative justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, aged 74 and 73, respectively, will require replacements across the next two presidential terms. Both Trump and current President Joe Biden are only constitutionally eligible to serve one more term in the White House.
"So it is possible that in those eight years, we have the opportunity to fortify justices," DeSantis said, adding that if "improvements with those others" could be made, "you would have a 7-2 conservative majority on the Supreme Court that would last a quarter-century."
DeSantis also suggested that it may be possible to replace Obama-appointed liberal justices Sonia Sotomayor, who is 68, and Elena Kagan, who is 63, over the course of the next administration. Justices are presidentially appointed to the Supreme Court for life, or until they opt to retire. The court currently leans conservative by a majority of 6-3.
The Florida governor, who has recently overseen the Sunshine State's ban of most abortions after six weeks, also hit out at another sitting conservative justice on the Supreme Court, John Roberts, who sided with the liberal side of the court on abortion rights last year.
"If you replace a Clarence Thomas with somebody like a Roberts or somebody like that, then you're going to actually see the court move to the left, and you can't do that," DeSantis argued to what the Washington Post described as a "raucous" audience.
DeSantis is expected to formally announce his presidential campaign this week, reports indicate. His platform is expected to mirror his hard-right state legislation in Florida, which has seen his governorship crack down on LGBTQ rights, enact legislation targeting the rights of transgender people, loosen gun laws, as well as implement the six-week abortion ban, which he defended to the conservative audience on Monday as "the right thing to do."