Donald Trump has reportedly picked his choice for whom he will nominate to fill Justice Anthony Kennedy’s spot on the Supreme Court, and will announce his choice live from the White House later on Monday, Politico is reporting. The top two contenders are rumored to be Judges Thomas Hardiman and Brett Kavanaugh.
Referring to two other men reportedly in contention for the spot, Raymond Kethledge and Amy Coney Barrett, a White House source, speaking on condition of anonymity, says that “the other two” aren’t likely to be nominated.
Trump, for his part, has been circumspect about his possible choices, instead only referring reporters to a list of 25 conservative judges — a list which dates back to Trump’s 2016 campaign. Meanwhile, reporters are camped outside the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., waiting for a pick that Trump promised on Monday morning would come on Monday night.
“I have long heard that the most important decision a U.S. President can make is the selection of a Supreme Court Justice – Will be announced tonight at 9:00 P.M. [Eastern Time].”
Meanwhile, New York Times writer Peter Baker tweeted on Monday afternoon that he saw Kavanaugh leaving the U.S. Courthouse in Washington.
Buzz at the US courthouse in DC: Brett Kavanaugh spotted leaving in a black sedan accompanied by four black SUVs with security agents presumed to be Secret Service, per source.
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) July 9, 2018
The 53-year-old is currently a member of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, and has been described by political analysts as a “strong late contender.”
“U.S. Appeals Court Judge Thomas M. Hardiman has written that convicted criminals, including some felons, should be able to recover their right to own and carry guns.” https://t.co/1Nbv7x8snQ
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) July 7, 2018
According to Vox, Hardiman has a strong track record of supporting gun rights, and as such, holds a lot of appeal to Trump’s gun-supporting base. He also serves in the same court as Trump’s sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry.
Though bullish on guns, Hardiman’s stance on abortion — and specifically, whether or not he’s inclined to overturn Roe. v. Wade — will almost certainly come up in his Senate confirmation hearings. Pro-abortion rights Republican Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski are expected to grill him at length about the topic.
Kavanaugh, also 53, currently sits on the powerful D.C. Circuit Court, a position he’s held since 2006. He has strong ties to the Bush family, which Politico says could actually be a strike against him in Trump’s eyes.
According to Vox, Kavanaugh is a SCOTUS candidate “straight out of Central Casting.”
Brett Kavanaugh — a frontrunner to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court — is a veteran of every conservative cause you can imagine, from the 2000 Florida recount to the fight against Obamacare. https://t.co/RzVIbvq36Z
— Vox (@voxdotcom) July 9, 2018
“His resumé is the one every ambitious college Republican hoping to be on the Supreme Court one day dreams of building. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) once called him the ‘Forrest Gump of Republican politics.'”
If anything is working against Kavanaugh, it’s that he’s been involved in so many high-profile cases that he may literally give the Senate too much to have to analyze while considering his nomination.