UPDATE Monday: President Trump has tweeted that he has made his choice and will announce it Tuesday at 8 p.m.
Julie Pace of AP reports:
A White House official says President Donald Trump could announce his pick for the Supreme Court as early as Monday.
Trump originally said the announcement would come on Thursday, but the official says the timeframe could be sped up.
Three federal appeals court judges are said to have emerged as leading candidates: Neil Gorsuch, Thomas Hardiman and William Pryor. The official says the president has also been considering Diane Sykes, one of his early favorites for the high court seat.
[UPDATE: ABC reporter Jonathan Karl tweeted Sunday afternoon that the White House is preparing for a nomination announcement “likely Tues[day], possibly tomorrow.” He also tweeted that a senior administration official told him Trump’s short list was down to Gorsuch and Hardiman.
CNN confirms and adds (emphasis mine, hyperlinks omitted):
President Donald Trump has settled on his first Supreme Court nominee and is poised to reveal his selection early this week, two officials say, in an announcement that many inside the White House hope could change the subject from a weekend of thundering criticism over the executive order on immigration.
* * *
“Our world changes constantly but there is a very good chance we are announcing early this week unless (President Trump) changes his mind about who,” a senior adviser told CNN.
* * *
Hardiman emerged as the leading contender, two people close to the process said, but they cautioned that Trump could still change his mind and deliver a surprise.]
Also today, Joel Gerhrke reports in the Washington Examiner that an anonymous source revealed President Trump’s assessment of Judge Hardiman:
“‘He’s probably the most conservative judge that can get confirmed,'” a well-placed source familiar with the deliberations quoted Trump as saying in a private meeting.
“As a judge, he’s thoughtful, decent and tries hard to stay true to the contours of the law and facts when reaching a decision,” said Charles “Chip” Becker, a partner at Kline & Specter in Philadelphia and president of the Third Circuit Bar Association who has argued before Hardiman several times. “Personally, he’s warm, friendly and funny.”
Becker points to Hardiman’s opinion in the case Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders , a challenge to the strip-search policy in a New Jersey jail, to emphasize that Hardiman is known for seeing “the varying sides of an issue.”
Also yesterday, Ariane de Vogue had this Hardiman profile on CNN.com, headlined, “Thomas Hardiman, the non-Ivy League Supreme Court candidate.”
And on Friday, arch-conservative blogger Paul Mirengoff had this post, entitled, “What to Make of Trump’s Sister’s Praise for Potential Supreme Nominee.” He concludes (correctly, in my view) that Judge Barry’s reported support for Hardiman sheds little light on how conservative he is. And, to his credit, Mirengoff now says he was wrong to call one of Barry’s opinions “obscenely pro-abortion,” admitting he “went too far” (and, to my astonishment, hyperlinking his “too far” admission to this blog’s criticism of his statement).
Finally, David Savage had this fine Hardiman profile in Friday’s Los Angeles Times, describing him as “a conservative jurist from Pittsburgh with a personal story not unlike many of the blue-collar voters who catapulted Trump to the White House.”