Trump Expected To Make Supreme Court Pick From Two Finalists


President Donald Trump is poised to make his first U.S. Supreme Court nomination, setting up a showdown with congressional Democrats over a selection that would bolster the court’s conservative wing for a generation or more.

Trump will select one of two federal appeals court judges, either Neil Gorsuch of Denver or Thomas Hardiman of Pittsburgh, according to people familiar with the president’s decision process. Trump says he will announce his choice at 8 p.m. Washington time Tuesday.

Either Gorsuch, 49, or Hardiman, 51, would in all likelihood restore the ideological balance that existed before Scalia’s death on Feb. 13, 2016, left a vacancy that has yet to be filled. Each is a Republican appointee with a decade-long record on the federal bench.

The nomination will come amid the controversy over Trump’s order restricting travel into the U.S. by people from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates on Monday night after she refused to uphold his executive order. That move angered Democrats, who vowed an all-out fight against his nomination of Jeff Sessions as attorney general and set the stage for an even bigger clash over the high court vacancy.

Republicans have said an announcement this week would provide time for confirmation before the Senate recess scheduled to start April 8, and potentially let the new justice hear cases during the high court’s current nine-month term.

Democrats will be hard-pressed to stop the nomination given the 52-48 advantage Republicans hold in the Senate. Under current rules, Republicans will need 60 votes to bring the nomination to the Senate floor. Some Democrats say they will insist Republicans reach that threshold.

“It’s really important we have a mainstream nominee, and the way to do that is to require a super-majority vote, as we have now,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, said Monday.

Even so, Republicans could eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court appointments with a simple majority vote. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed lawmakers will confirm Trump’s nominee.

Opponents will seek to “paint whoever is nominated in apocalyptic terms,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Monday. “It doesn’t matter who this president nominates, the left has been rolling out the same tired playbook for decades.”

Democrats are still smarting from Senate Republicans’ refusal to consider former President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to fill the Scalia seat. That nomination would have given the court a majority of Democratic appointees for the first time since 1969.

Gorsuch is a champion of religious liberty known for his crisp, occasionally pointed writing style. He has faulted liberals for an “overweening addiction to the courtroom” and last year hailed Scalia as a “lion of the law.”

A study led by Mercer University law professor Jeremy Kidd concluded that Gorsuch is the second-most similar to Scalia of the 21 prospective justices on a list Trump released during the campaign.

Gorsuch is a fourth-generation Coloradan who earned his undergraduate degree at Columbia, his law degree at Harvard and a doctorate in legal philosophy at Oxford.

Hardiman is a Massachusetts native with working-class roots. His father owned a taxi company, and he drove a cab himself when he was a student. He became the first in his family to graduate from college when he earned his degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1987.

A graduate of Georgetown University’s law school, Hardiman would be the only justice on the court currently who didn’t earn a law degree from an Ivy League school.

Hardiman has gone further than the Supreme Court in backing gun rights by saying the Constitution’s Second Amendment protects the right to carry a handgun in public places. “The need for self-defense naturally exists both outside and inside the home,” he wrote.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Monday that the president had made his decision and wouldn’t change his mind. “He’s 100 percent sure he’s the pick,” Spicer said.

The nomination could be one of several for Trump. Three other justices — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer — are at least 78.

(c) 2017, Bloomberg · Greg Stohr 



  1. Editor of the national Catholic weekly, The Wanderer,
    had strongly opposed Gorsuch and Pryor ,and others, and supported by name some some other nominees, took no position on Judge Hardiman.

  2. Neil Gorsuch is NOT pro-life.

    His selection would violate Trump’s pledge to nominate a pro-life justice to the Supreme Court. Roe v. Wade won’t be overturned for 40 years if the 49-year-old Gorsuch is picked. That is 40 million more unborn children who will be aborted based on this.

    Our pro-life movement has only a few hours or days to object, protest, criticize, and veto the nomination of this pro-choice candidate. Trump floats these trial balloons to see if people object. We must strongly object, and please speak out loudly now.

    For starters, Gorsuch has never said or written anything pro-life. I knew him in law school and afterwards, and I’ve reviewed his opinions and his book. He’s written multiple opinions that demonstrate he’s not pro-life.

    For example, in the case of Pino v. U.S., Gorsuch discussed whether a 20-week-old “nonviable fetus” had the same rights as a “viable fetus.” Gorsuch, showing that he is not pro-life, indicated that his answer is “no” unless the Oklahoma Supreme Court specially found rights for the “nonviable fetus.” Rather than render a pro-life ruling, Gorsuch punted this issue to the Oklahoma Supreme Court for it to decide. Gorsuch’s approach is similar to the unjust approach based on viability that underlies Roe v. Wade.

    More information, including how Gorsuch opposes overturning precedent even when it is wrong, is here. He supports special rights for transgenders, too. And he is no Scalia, as Gorsuch was not even on the Law Review in law school.

  3. David Souter was the stealth nominee pushed on the first President Bush and promoted by the Federalist Society and National Right to Life. The selection of Souter resulted in 30 million additional abortions, and he even timed his resignation so that Obama would fill his vacancy with another pro-abort who will hold power for another 30 years.

    This time, no grassroots voters are going to be fooled, and a campaign will then begin for Trump’s advisers to withdraw their mistake, as the second President Bush had to withdraw Harriet Miers and Att. General Gonzalez.
    The grassroots won’t be fooled by another David Souter-type deceitful pick demanded by D.C lobbyists.

    The lobbyists are using every trick they can imagine to pull off another David Souter nomination. Robert Bork was a heavy smoker aged 60, but he wasn’t too old to be nominated. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was over 60 too. But to push Trump away from the clear pro-life winner of Florida Supreme Court Justice Charles Canady, who has a strong pro-life record as a judge at age 62, inside-the-Beltway groups falsely pretend he’s somehow too old. Trump is 70, and we don’t want a young David Souter anyway who will be there 30-40 years.


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