President Trump Tweets That He Will Pick His SCOTUS Nominee On February 2

Written by Alexander J. Segal on

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Update (Jan. 30, 2017): President Trump has moved the date to January 31, 2017, at 8:00 PM [see blog].

At 7:17 AM on January 25, 2017, President Donald Trump posted the following announcement on his personal Twitter account:

“I will be making my Supreme Court pick on Thursday of next week. Thank you!”

- President Donald Trump

Assuming that the President keeps the date, February 2, 2017, will mark the most important decision yet for his young administration. If confirmed, the individual who President Trump selects next Thursday will have a dramatic effect on United States law for years, if not decades, to come. Immigration law is no exception to this rule, as the Supreme Court often resolves critical issues related to immigration statutes and other criminal and administrative law cases that touch on immigration issues.

Although we do not know who the President will select, many outlets are reporting that he is down to the same three finalists:

  • Judge Neil Gorsuch, United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit;
  • Judge Thomas Hardiman, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; and
  • Judge William H. Pryor Jr., United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

Judges Gorsuch, Hardiman, and Pryor — all appointees of former President George W. Bush — have stellar reputations from their service on the federal bench. All three are considered reliable conservative judges, although there are key differences in their methodologies and their legal views on certain issues. If President Trump has in fact narrowed his list of 21 Supreme Court prospects to these three individuals, we can be assured that the next Supreme Court justice will be well-qualified to faithfully interpret the law going forward.

Many are looking for clues as to which of these individuals is the “frontrunner,” but fortunately our questions will be answered soon enough.1 When the President makes his choice, I will post a comprehensive profile of the new nominee, as well as how he compares to the other finalists (barring a surprise choice). In the meantime, please see my blog post about a look at a couple of interesting immigration decisions authored by Judge Gorsuch [see blog].

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  1. Judge Hardiman serves on the Third Circuit with the President's sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry. Whether this will buttress his case remains to be seen.