Good lord almighty. He’s going to bring them both out and make his choice live via a “gavel ceremony,” isn’t he?
You wanted a reality-show presidency, you got one.
The two judges who have been considered the top finalists to be President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court — Neil Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman — are being brought to Washington ahead of tonight’s White House announcement, sources tell CNN.
The move comes as there were increasing indications that Gorsuch will be Trump’s choice, sources briefed on the White House deliberations tell CNN.
One source said that Gorsuch was told it was likely him. Those close to the process warn that until it is announced, Trump could change his mind.
Gorsuch is supposedly already in D.C., Hardiman is en route. How is this going to work? Will they both be at the announcement? Why would you invite the runner-up to witness firsthand that he’s not going to achieve his lifelong dream of being named to the Supreme Court? And if the runner-up isn’t going to be at the announcement, why make him come all the way to D.C. to get the thumbs down in person?
For what it’s worth, I’m hearing more “Gorsuch” whispers today than “Hardiman” ones, but who knows if that isn’t all part of the show.
I'll say this, based on 4 conversations today: Either there's a major headfake operation afoot, or it's going to be Gorsuch. #SCOTUS
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) January 31, 2017
Laurence Tribe is a liberal but this line of critique has become more common even on the right over the last few days. Hardiman is solid; Gorsuch is exceptional. If you’re Trump, why not make your base as happy as you can, especially now that he’s besieged by the left on so many other issues? Choosing Hardiman risks a two-front battle with attacks from the left and right. If Trump picks Hardiman, the choice will be characterized as him having sided with family over good sense.
Gorsuch is as smart as he is conservative, and he writes elegantly. Hardiman is a friend of Trump's sister. Whom do YOU think T will name?
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) January 31, 2017
One possibility occurs to me: Trump could announce that Gorsuch are Hardiman are his first two picks for the Supreme Court. It would be very weird and possibly unprecedented for a president to state up front whom he’s planning to nominate for a vacancy that hasn’t happened yet — and it would be poor strategy, since it would give the left long lead time in building oppo research on today’s runner-up — but it’d be pretty Trumpy. He could nominate one and announce that the other will be his nominee for the next open seat. The wrinkle, if Gorsuch goes first and Hardiman goes second, is that it might inspire Democrats to filibuster on the theory that if they Bork Gorsuch a more moderate judge is waiting in the wings. Although maybe Trump wants them to do that knowing that it’d give McConnell a reason to nuke the filibuster. Stay tuned for drama, as usual in the Trump era.