Neil Gorsuch was chosen as Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee
President Trump, who took office on January 20, called Judge Gorsuch on Monday to inform him that he had prevailed among a handful of finalists to succeed deceased Justice Antonin Scalia on the high court.
That decision set off a rapid and secretive process to get Judge Gorsuch to Washington without alerting journalists and other Supreme Court watchers of the president's selection.
After President Trump called the Colorado-based judge, a team from the White House counsel's office flew to Denver and then drove to Boulder, roughly 45 minutes away, to meet Judge Gorsuch and his family.
They met at a neighbour’s house to avoid detection.
President Trump's decision set off a chain of secretive events
Then the White House staff spirited him through a “back farm road” to a waiting military plane to transport him to Washington, White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters last night in the White House East Room.
He finalised the decision recently
Senior adviser Kellyanne Conway
Judge Gorsuch stayed at a friend's residence before being brought to the White House for the evening announcement.
The secrecy continued up until the last minute.
When President Trump entered the East Room, he came alone, addressing the cameras and the waiting crowd, which included Justice Scalia's widow, at a podium before calling on Judge Gorsuch and his wife to come in.
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US President Donald J. Trump attends a meeting on cyber security, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, in Washington, DC, USA, 31 January 2017
Trump's decision came after he narrowed a list of 21 candidates down to six, including Thomas Hardiman, William Pryor, Amul Thapar, Diane Sykes, and Don Willett.
Then President-elect Trump interviewed Judge Gorsuch, Judge Hardiman and Judge Pryor on January 14 in his New York residence. He also interviewed Judge Thapar.
“He finalised the decision recently,” after considering all 21 candidates “very deeply,” said Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser and counsellor to the president.
After meeting with a White House team Judge Gorsuch was taken to a waiting plane
White House counsel Don McGahn informed Judge Hardiman, Judge Pryor and Judge Thapar that they had not been chosen, Mr Spicer said.
The White House was determined to keep the president's Supreme Court selection a secret and make the announcement of his choice a success after the botched rollout of his refugee executive order contributed to confusion and worldwide criticism last weekend.
The strategy to get Judge Gorsuch confirmed will kick off right away, Mr Spicer said, with former Senator Kelly Ayotte serving as the “sherpa” to help steer the nominee through the Senate confirmation process.