President Trump is set to announce his choice to be the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court just after 8 p.m. ET tonight, expected to be a pick between federal appeals court judges Neil Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman.
In typical Trump fashion, the run-up to the announcement has played out with the typical bravado and suspense of a reality TV show — somewhat fitting for the former host of the “The Apprentice.”
The White House chose a prime time announcement instead of the usual nomination during the day And there were reports throughout the day that he two finalists for the seat were both and could even both be at the White House. NBC News reported later that only one of the judges will be there.
NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg has more on the possible nominees:
“The two who seem to be at the head of the line are Neil Gorsuch, a well-regarded 49-year-old judge on the appeals court based in Denver, and Thomas Hardiman, a popular 51-year-old judge on the appeals court based in Philadelphia. Hardiman is said to be well-liked by Maryanne Trump Barry, the president’s sister, a judge on the same Philadelphia court.
“Gorsuch and Hardiman seem in some ways to be the flip sides of each other: Gorsuch is a scholarly Ivy Leaguer and Hardiman is a longtime litigator with lots of experience trying cases, who is said to have a ‘practical approach.'”
Both are young and popular with conservatives, keeping a promise Trump made during the campaign in what he was looking for to fill the seat left by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
After the 79-year-old justice died suddenly in February 2016, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. But Senate Republicans refused to take up his nomination, arguing instead that the next president should be allowed to chose the next justice.
Now, Senate Democrats are weighing whether they should block whoever Trump’s nominee is. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., has already said he’ll filibuster the pick. The nominee has to get 60 votes to avoid a filibuster and move forward to a full Senate vote, so the White House needs eight Democrats to back the nominee.Share