According to a new report from Politico, President Trump has whittled his shortlist of Supreme Court nomination possibilities down to three finalists: 10th Circuit judge Neil Gorsuch, 11th Circuit judge Bill Pryor, and 3rd Circuit judge Thomas Hardiman.
Pryor was the suspected frontrunner for a long time, but he has recently come under fire from some conservatives for his ruling in a 2011 case about transgender discrimination. Some Republicans believe he would follow in the footsteps of previous conservative justices and fall prey to the liberal whims of the Court.
While he’s still very much in the running, Pryor is apparently falling behind the other two candidates for the job. Politico spoke to Leonard Leo, a top Trump adviser and a senior member of the Federalist Society. He had nothing but praise for Hardiman and Gorsuch:
“Under our Constitution, the power rests with the people, and that was at the core of Justice Scalia’s legacy, and you heard from President Trump’s inauguration that is the core of Trump’s agenda, and that’s very much the core of what Neil Gorsuch’s record is as a jurist,” Leo said. “He’s an excellent writer. He’s got sharp analytical ability, strong intellect and he’s got a lot of strength and courage. Those are things that the president very much wants in a nominee.”
“Hardiman,” Leo added, “shares many of the same qualities.”
Trump said Tuesday that he would make his selection next week. In the meantime, he is meeting with senators from both parties to get their feedback. Politico reports that Trump met with Senators Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer this week to discuss the Supreme Court.
Regardless of which judge he chooses, Trump is in for a hell of a confirmation battle. Democrats are still sore about Merrick Garland, and they don’t seem to be in a cooperative mood after this election. It’s hard to see a truly conservative judge getting to 60 votes in the Senate, but we’ll have to see what happens. When Schumer starts getting nailed for his hypocrisy in the press, maybe Democrats will see fit to cave.
Of course, you’d need an objective press for that to happen, so we’re not holding our breath.