After meeting with several candidates on Saturday, President Donald Trump promised that Americans will have a new nominee for the Supreme Court by July 9. The president spent this past weekend at his golf club in New Jersey, brushing up on judicial philosophy and sitting down for one-on-one meetings with at least five possible nominees. Two of the prospective jurors are women, Trump told reporters. He has reportedly narrowed his search to a handful of federal judges: Brett Kavanaugh, Amul Thapar, Thomas Hardiman, Raymond Kethledge, and Amy Coney Barrett.
The pick here is Amy Coney Barrett, who is popular among conservatives, who cite her recent Senate confirmation hearings for the federal bench, where she was accused by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) of fully espousing Catholic dogma.
The reason I predict Barrett will be the President’s selection is that she was just confirmed by the same Senate that will oversee this process. It will be the height of hypocrisy for senators – who just confirmed her months ago – to turn on her now.
Trump would only say that he believes Barrett is an “outstanding woman,” when speaking with reporters on Air Force One this past weekend, careful to not reveal too much inside information about his selection process.
The July 9 deadline is ambitious; nominees for the Supreme Court must pass an FBI background check before they can even be considered for a spot on the nation’s highest court, and Business Insider reports that agents are still in the midst of vetting several possible candidates. But Trump wants to start the confirmation process as quickly as possible so Republicans can cast their votes ahead of the November elections.
Democrats are eagerly anticipating a partisan fight, but it could be over before it starts. Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) filibuster of Justice Neil Gorsuch’s nomination triggered Republicans to use the so-called “nuclear option,” removing the “super majority” requirement of 60 votes to place a new justice on the nation’s highest court.
Now, the GOP needs just 51 votes to pass the nominee, and in the event of a tie vote, Vice President Mike Pence would cast the deciding vote.
So this nomination process will likely fall to the moderate members of the Republican Party – Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Susan Collins (ME), both of whom are supporters of Roe v. Wade.
When interviewed over the weekend, President Trump said that he has no plans to ask any prospective justices how they would rule should abortion rights come before the Court again. It probably wouldn’t matter if he – or the Senate – did ask such questions, as nominees have learned to not weigh in on specific issues and cases while testifying before the Senate.
So the president is about to make his second Supreme Court nominee in just a few days. And we think that person will be Amy Coney Barrett.