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SCOTUS shortlist: A Black Lives Matter target

Will Daniel Cameron, a protege of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, go from the Breonna Taylor shooting case to the Supreme Court?

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Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron speaks during the Republican National Convention from the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020.

Susan Walsh, Associated Press

President Donald Trump could announce his nomination for the Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death as early as this week. Daniel Cameron, the Kentucky Attorney General who recently spoke at the Republican National Convention, is a contender. He has become a focus of Black Lives Matter protesters who argued that his response to the police shooting of Breonna Taylor last March was slow or insufficient.


  • Cameron, 34, became the first Black attorney general in Kentucky’s history when he was elected in 2019.
  • He attended the University of Louisville as part of the McConnell Scholars program, named after Sen. Mitch McConnell. He played defensive back on the Louisville football team and graduated in 2008.
  • In 2011, he graduated from the Brandeis School of Law, the University of Louisville’s law program.
  • As McConnell’s legal counsel from 2015 to 2017, Cameron “successfully spearheaded the confirmation processes for conservative judges, including Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch,” according to the National Association of Attorneys General.
  • In July, Cameron spoke out against demonstrators who had assembled on his lawn to protest his office’s handling of the Breonna Taylor case: “That is not acceptable and only serves to further division and tension within our community. Justice is not achieved by trespassing on private property, and it’s not achieved through escalation.”

One case

Wednesday afternoon, Cameron announced that a grand jury returned one indictment — wanton endangerment for allegedly shooting into neighboring apartments — of one of the three Louisville police officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s death six months ago. The mayor of Louisville had complained that the “slow pace of justice” was aggravating protests, saying the city and police delivered their findings to the AG in May. Taylor’s family, joined by protesters, had called for murder charges against all three officers.

Why is he the pick?

Cameron’s close ties to McConnell offer him political capital. The Senate Majority Leader has been instrumental in helping Trump achieve his judicial goals, by confirming Trump’s circuit court judges at a higher rate than those of any other U.S. president and promising to press forward with a vote on this seat ahead of the 2020 election. “My motto for the year is ‘leave no vacancy behind,’” McConnell said in April.

What’s the obstacle?

At just 34 years old, and with no experience as a judge, Cameron is seen by many as under-qualified. “I think putting him on a list of potential Supreme Court nominees over the next four years is preposterous,” Samuel Marcosson, a professor at the University of Louisville’s law school, said to the Louisville Courier-Journal. “A nominee for the Supreme Court should have a wealth of legal experience. The attorney general lacks any meaningful experience practicing federal law, which is the entirety of the Supreme Court’s docket.”

Key quote

“Even as anarchists mindlessly tear up American cities while attacking police and innocent bystanders, we Republicans do recognize those who work in good faith towards peace, justice and equality.” — Cameron at the 2020 Republican National Convention