Short-list for Supreme Court nominee down to 3 judges

UPDATE 2 — 1/27, 10:40 a.m. EST: Speaking at a joint congressional Republican conference in Philadelphia Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence said Donald Trump will nominate a “strict constructionist” judge to the Supreme Court who will interpret the Constitution literally.

“President Trump’s going to keep his promise to the American people”, Pence said, referring to the former New York businessman’s pledge during the 2016 campaign to nominate a conservative, pro-life jurist to replace the deceased Justice Scalia.

 

UPDATE — 1/25, 10:17 a.m. EST: President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that his Supreme Court nominee will be announced Thursday, Feb. 2.

 

According to an anonymous source close to President Trump’s Supreme Court search team, the list of candidates to replace deceased Justice Antonin Scalia has been narrowed to three.

At the start of the process, 21 judges were being considered for the nomination. All three finalists were nominated by former President George W. Bush and sit on federal appeals court panels.

1.William Pryor, 54 years-old, 11th Circuit in Atlanta — constitutional conservative; former Attorney General for the state of Alabama; Senate Democrats delayed his confirmation vote for almost a year before being confirmed by a count of 53–45 in 2005; wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed in 1997, which read: “The courts have imposed results on a wide range of issues, including racial quotas, school prayer, abortion and homosexual rights. Those issues belong in Congress and the state legislature.”

2. Neil Gorsuch, 49, 10th Circuit in Denver — moderate judge; former Washington-based lawyer in private practice and Justice Department employee; confirmed by voice vote in 2006; mother served as head of the EPA in President Reagan’s administration from 1981 to 1983.

3. Thomas Hardiman, 51, 3rd Circuit in Philadelphia — pro-law and order; former federal district court judge in Pittsburgh; nominated in 2006 and approved overwhelmingly in 2007; currently serves on the same judicial panel with Donald Trump’s sister, Maryanne Barry.

President Trump is set to meet four Senate leaders on Tuesday, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Grassley, Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein, to further discuss the remaining candidates.

Senate Minority Leader Schumer (D-N.Y.) has been vocal since Trump’s election of opposing any far-right judges that the president may nominate and even said last week that it would be “hard for me to imagine a nominee that Donald Trump would choose that would get Republican support, that we [Democrats] could support.”

Trump told White House media Tuesday that he will announce his choice for Supreme Court justice next week.

 

[AP] [Politico] [Reuters] [Photo courtesy Reuters/Lucas Jackson/AP/Evan Vucci via Salon]