(CNN) Ahead of an expected bid from the White House in the coming days, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis clarified the possibility of building a “7-2 conservative majority” on the US Supreme Court.
The Republican pointed to four justices — three appointed by Republican presidents — who he believed are poised to leave the bench in the next eight or nine years, during a speech at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Orlando on Monday.
“If you look over the next two presidential terms, there’s a good chance you might be called upon to seek replacements for Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito. And the problem with that is you can’t really do better than those two. They’re the gold standard for jurisprudence, so you have to make sure we appoint people as close to that standard as possible,” DeSantis said, referring to two conservative stalwarts.
Alito is 73, Thomas is 74.
DeSantis also highlighted what he sees as a potential opportunity to replace conservative Chief Justice John Roberts, 68, or liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor, 68, to cement a conservative majority for years. The court currently has a 6-3 conservative supermajority.
“If you replace a Clarence Thomas with someone like a Roberts or someone like that, you’re actually going to see the court move to the left, and you can’t do that. I also think if you look over the eight years, you’re going to could be called upon to replace Chief Justice John Roberts, and maybe even someone like Justice Sotomayor,” DeSantis said.
“So it’s possible that over the eight years we would have the opportunity to solidify Justices Alito and Thomas, as well as actually make improvements with the others, and if you were able to do that, you would have a 7-2 conservative majority. on the Supreme Court that would last a quarter of a century, so this is big stuff,” he added.
As governor, DeSantis talked about tilting the Florida Supreme Court to a conservative majority using age limits.
“We have age limits for judges,” DeSantis said. “The moment I was elected to office, three of the four liberal justices were off the court because of age. So, in my first term, I was able to replace three liberal justices with three conservative justices.”
He teased another judicial appointment this week to replace an outgoing conservative judge.
“I will have ended up making seven appointments in my entire tenure,” DeSantis said. “Judicial activism in Florida is now officially dead.”
Like all federal judges, Supreme Court justices are appointed for life.