President Trump will reveal the New Supreme judge tonight at the White House
President Trump said yesterday that he would reveal his choice to replace conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016, at the White House at 8pm tonight (0100 GMT on Wednesday).
The court is ideologically split with four conservative justices and four liberals, and President Trump's pick is expected to restore its conservative majority.
Three conservative US appeals court judges appointed to the bench by Republican President George W. Bush were among those under close consideration.
They are: Neil Gorsuch, a judge on the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; Thomas Hardiman, who serves on the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; and William Pryor, a judge on the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Under the Constitution, a president's Supreme Court nomination requires Senate confirmation.
Trump's choice will replace conservative Justice Antonin Scalla, who passed away in 2016
Democrats remain enraged over Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's refusal last year to allow the Senate to consider President Obama's nomination of appeals court Judge Merrick Garland for the vacant seat, an action with little precedent in U.S. history.
Gambling that Republicans would win the presidency in the November 8 election, McConnell argued that Obama's successor should get to make the pick. The senator's gamble paid off with President Trump's victory, but the court has run shorthanded for nearly a full year.
Trump will choose from three candidates, all appointed by Republican President George W. Bush
A Supreme Court justice can have influence in national affairs for years or decades after the president who made the appointment has left office. Some Democrats have said the Republicans stole a Supreme Court seat from President Obama.
Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley vowed to pursue a procedural hurdle called a filibuster for President Trump's nominee, meaning 60 votes would be needed in the 100-seat Senate unless its long-standing rules are changed. President Trump's fellow Republicans hold a 52-48 majority, meaning some Democratic votes would be needed to confirm his pick.
“We need to fight this Constitution-shredding gambit with everything we've got,” Merkley said in a statement.
The candidates comprise of Neil Gorsuch (far right) Thomas Hardiman and William Pryor
President Trump's appointee could be pivotal in cases involving abortion, gun, religious and transgender rights, the death penalty and other contentious matters.
Senator McConnell on Monday warned Democrats that senators should respect Trump's election victory and give the nominee “careful consideration followed by an up-or-down vote,” not a filibuster.
The new appointee will be revealed tonight at 8pm
President Trump, who took office on January 20, said last week he would favour Senate Republicans eliminating the filibuster, a change dubbed the “nuclear option,” for Supreme Court nominees if Democrats block his pick.
Judges Gorsuch, Hardiman and Pryor possess strong conservative credentials.
Donald Trump's Action Plan
Thu, January 19, 2017
What follows is Donald Trump's action plan to 'Make America Great Again' within the first 100 days of Presidency.
1 of 10
FIRST: Propose a Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress.
Judge Gorsuch, 49, joined an opinion in 2013 saying that owners of private companies can object on religious grounds to a provision of the Obamacare health insurance law requiring employers to provide coverage for birth control for women.
Judge Hardiman, 51, has embraced a broad interpretation of the constitutional guarantee of the right to bear arms and has backed the right of schools to restrict student speech.
Judge Pryor, 54, has been an outspoken critic of the court's 1973 landmark Roe v Wade ruling legalising abortion, calling it “the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history.”
Conservatives are hoping the high court will back restrictions imposed on the procedure by some Republican-governed states.