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Trump Treating Supreme Court Pick Like An Episode Of ‘The Apprentice’

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Trump Treating Supreme Court Pick Like An Episode Of ‘The Apprentice’


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump was set to unveil his pick for a lifetime job on the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday as Democrats, still fuming over the Republican-led Senate’s refusal to act on former President Barack Obama’s nominee last year, girded for a fight.

Trump has announced he would reveal his choice to replace conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last February, at the White House at 8 p.m.

The court is ideologically split with four conservative justices and four liberals, and Trump’s pick can restore its conservative majority.

A source involved in the selection process said Trump has made his choice between two conservative U.S. appeals court judges — Neil Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman. Both were appointed to the bench by Republican former President George W. Bush.

CNN, citing an unnamed source, said Gorsuch, a judge on the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, has been told he is the likely nominee.

Adding an element of drama to what is normally a sober announcement, CNN said both Gorsuch and Hardiman, who serves on the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, had been brought to Washington ahead of Tuesday’s announcement.

A senior Senate Republican aide said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already been informed of Trump’s pick, which the senator described as an “outstanding choice.”

William Pryor, a judge on the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, had earlier been mentioned as a possible nominee.

Under the Constitution, a president’s Supreme Court nomination requires Senate confirmation.

A Supreme Court justice can have influence for decades after the president who made the appointment has left office and Trump’s appointee could be pivotal in cases involving abortion, gun, religious and transgender rights, the death penalty, and other contentious matters.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said polls had shown that the composition of the Supreme Court was important for many voters at last year’s presidential election.

“I can assure you that this individual will make those voters and every American very, very proud,” Spicer told reporters. “This particular choice is one the president takes very seriously.”


William Pryor, a judge on the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, had earlier been mentioned as a possible Trump nominee.

All three men have strong conservative credentials.

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.

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.

Pryor, 54, has been an outspoken critic of the court’s 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion, calling it “the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history.”

Amid partisan tension since Trump took office, Democrats remain enraged because Republican Leader McConnell refused last year to allow the Senate to consider Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland for the vacant seat. That action has little precedent in U.S. history.

Gambling that Republicans would win the presidency in the Nov. 8 election, McConnell argued that Obama’s successor should get to make the pick. The move paid off with Trump’s victory, but the court has run shorthanded for nearly a full year.

Some Democrats have said the Republicans effectively stole a Supreme Court seat from Obama by refusing to confirm Garland.

Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley has vowed to pursue a procedural hurdle called a filibuster for Trump’s nominee, meaning 60 votes would be needed in the 100-seat Senate unless its long-standing rules are changed. 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.

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.

Trump, who took office on Jan. 20, said last week he would favor Senate Republicans eliminating the filibuster, a change dubbed the “nuclear option,” for Supreme Court nominees if Democrats block his pick.

Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative legal advocacy group, said it would launch the first part of a $10 million media advertisement campaign on Tuesday night in favor of whomever Trump chooses. The effort will hold Senate Democrats who face election in 2018 “accountable for their choice” on the Supreme Court, the group said.

Since it had only eight members after Scalia’s death, the court has steered clear of some controversial issues. The most high-profile case currently under consideration is that of a female-born transgender high school student named Gavin Grimm, who identifies as male. He sued in 2015 to win the right to use the school’s boys’ bathroom in Virginia.

Depending on how quickly Trump’s nominee is confirmed by the Senate, he may be able to participate in some of the current term’s cases. If not, the court may have to consider setting new oral arguments and deciding them at a later date.

(Additional reporting by Andrew Chung, Richard Cowan, Susan Heavey, Ayesha Rascoe and Doina Chiacu; Writing by Will Dunham and Alistair Bell; Editing by Susan Heavey and Bill Trott)

IMAGE: THE APPRENTICE — NBC Alternative Series — “Episode 306: The Writing on the Wall” — Pictured: Donald Trump — NBC Universal Photo: Kevin T. Gilbert



  1. Stuart February 1, 2017

    Each justice or judge of the United States shall take the following oath
    or affirmation before performing the duties of his office: “I, ___ ___,
    do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without
    respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich . . . ”

    There isn’t a conservative on the planet who believe in this.

    1. Margaretroliver February 1, 2017

      Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj442d:
      On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
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    2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth February 1, 2017

      Great post! As for your final sentence, I’ve yet to know of a conservative who unhesitatingly believes in the oath.

  2. FireBaron February 1, 2017

    Believe it or not, folks, every Presidential nominee to the Supreme Court, or to any Federal Judgeship, is like an episode of Apprentice. If the prospect doesn’t say what the President wants to hear, he doesn’t get considered. So this is regardless of party lines. Granted, at least with President Obama we had an actual Constitutional scholar in the White House. With Teflon Donnie we have a hand-puppet jointly operated by Vladimir Vladimirovich, Tsar of All Russias, and Steve Bannon, and received this recommendation from the Heritage Foundation without doing any questioning on his own.

  3. Aaron_of_Portsmouth February 1, 2017

    The virtue called Justice long ago has been shrouded in a thick veil as a result of the jaundiced in America since the Pilgrims landed. With each passing century, veils of disrespect for the rights of humans right here in America have been draped over the lamp of Justice to the point that lamp of Justice can only emit “light” through the filter called “liberal” or “conservative”.
    Much of the reason for current veils added have been based on political view rather than based on recognition of the essence of what Justice means aside from stodgy judges’ definition of the concept.

    The essence of Justice can be succinctly defined with the following:

    1) O SON OF SPIRIT! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.”

    How can America’s Judicial system be said to conform to Justice(one of the 100 or more Names which emanate from God) as described by the above, if a Judge at any level has to be chosen according to a political leaning?

    America has so much distorted the nature of being human, and corrupted its human qualities as a result of partisan politics, that Justice is disfigured and barely recognizable. And when America has stooped so low as to allow a Reality Show con man to pick according to his jaded and depraved nature, then this is a further indication of the downward path towards an abyss which a dominant political view feels is the best way backwards rather than thinking of moving forward and away from a fiery ordeal.

    1. FrancesPoo February 1, 2017

      CopyPasta. Wow talk about needing to get a life.

      1. Aaron Zanzibari February 1, 2017

        Dear Poo, it might serve you better to copy and paste anything to help bolster the idle prattle you post. Even pasting from a comic strip would be a vast improvement on your part.

        And then all would be jolly good for YOU.

        1. FrancesPoo February 1, 2017

          Aaron the copy pasta, boy oh boy you are a mental midget. Do you think by using big words that you are anymore a moron than you already are? Go Trump GO


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