According to people familiar with the matter president Donald Trump plans to unveil his nominee for the vacant Supreme Court position early this week. The announcement comes after a week of sweeping executive actions focused on cracking down on illegal immigrants and Muslim refugees with terrorist ties.
Last week, the White House said that the name of the justice set to replace late justice Antonin Scalia will be made public on Thursday. Several sources say that the event will likely happen sooner.
Announcement to be Made this Week
Rumors have it that a confirmation panel will make the announcement on Monday. Yet Trump will have the last say in this issue. He can change his mind about the nominee, so the timing might change too. Sources said that he will most likely make the announcement Tuesday.
This week is expected to be as frenetic for Trump as his first. His aides say there are a lot of pending executive orders that wait for him to be signed. The topics vary from small businesses to the banking sector and pharma industry to crime.
The National Prayer Breakfast announced they would welcome the new president on Thursday. So, it is highly likely that the billionaire will announce his Supreme Court pick earlier. On Thursday, he will also pay a visit to Milwaukee where he will unveil a plan to boost the U.S. manufacture. Afterward, he will spend the weekend with his family in the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
Experts say that the Supreme Court issue has been the most anticipated decision since he took office. People familiar with the matter said the president conducted the interviews last week.
The nominees with the highest chances are Thomas Hardiman from the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, William H. Pryor Jr from the 11th Circuit or Neil Gorsuch from a federal court in Colorado.
Two Likely Replacements for Scalia
Analysts believe Hardiman is the likely winner as he is a longtime conservative. Yet, the president can make a surprise announcement at any time. According to a SCOTUS source, Hardiman voted conservative on a series of hot-button topics. For instance, in many gun rights cases he reinforced the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
Gorsuch, on the other hand, has been often likened to Scalia. His critics say that just like the late conservative judge he has a set of ideological commitments and set of personal beliefs that shape his decision making. Just like Scalia, he thinks courts should interpret the law in favor of defendants even if the decision damages the government.
Nevertheless, the GOP will need 8 Democratic votes to dodge a 60-vote filibuster. Last week, Trump met with Democratic leaders to discuss the nomination. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said the party wants a “mainstream” candidate for the role in the nation’s highest court.
Earlier this month, Schumer said the Democratic party will retaliate against the GOP’s opposition to President Barack Obama’s nominee – Merrick Garland. Democrats said they won’t make it easy for Republicans to make their pick for SCOTUS. Schumer added that he finds it hard to imagine a nominee that Trump and the GOP favor and that would get Democrats’ support too.
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