President Trump stated Sunday that he was near to making a decision about nominating a candidate to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy a little more than 24 hours before he was set to announce his choice in a primetime address Monday, Fox News informed.
“I’m very close to making a final decision. And I believe this person will do a great job,” Trump told reporters as he left for Washington from a weekend at his New Jersey golf club.
“Let’s say it’s the four people … they’re excellent, every one. You can’t go wrong.” Trump added that he would make his final decision “tonight or tomorrow sometime by 12 o’clock and we’re all gonna be meeting at nine o’clock,” the President said when asked how many people were being considered.
Later Sunday, Trump tweeted that he was “[l]ooking forward to announcing my final decision on the United States Supreme Court Justice at 9:00pmE tomorrow night at the @WhiteHouse. An exceptional person will be chosen!”
The Trump administration has been preparing information materials on four potential nominees: appeals court judges Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge, Amy Coney Barrett, and Thomas Hardiman.
Sources who talked to Trump Sunday morning tell Fox News that the President’s top two choices are Kavanaugh and Hardiman, though a GOP source said late Sunday that Barrett still has a good chance to be nominated.
Hardiman was the runner-up when Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia last year. He also has a personal connection to the President, having served with Trump’s sister on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.
Each possible choice must be balanced against political realities — with Republicans holding a razor-thin majority in the Senate and Democratic leaders imploring their colleagues to stand firm against any Trump nomination.