Angling for a Supreme pick

How Trump landed Neil Gorsuch.

When Donald Trump released his first list of potential Supreme Court nominees last May, Neil Gorsuch’s name was not on it. The inner circle of Trump’s advisers were aware of Gorsuch’s lofty reputation as a judge. Still, they kept him off the list because they hadn’t fully studied his judicial record, his years as a private lawyer, and his personal life. Once they did, he impressed them, in the words of a Trump researcher, as “almost too perfect.”

But the candidate’s advisers—Steve Bannon, lawyer Donald McGahn, and Federalist Society executive vice president Leonard Leo—weren’t ready to single him out. Instead, in September, they expanded the list from 11 to 21 candidates. And a main reason was to put Gorsuch’s

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