There are also ongoing discussions between Trump advisers and conservative leaders about the possibility of a Supreme Court vacancy in the coming months — a tantalizing prospect for Republicans who value the court above all other issues and are eager to have Trump have one more opportunity to nominate a justice before the election.
Justice Clarence Thomas, a conservative appointed by George H.W. Bush, is privately seen by Trump’s aides as the most likely to retire this year. While Thomas has not given any indication of doing so, the White House and Senate Republicans are quietly preparing for a possible opening, according to a White House official and two outside Trump political advisers who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private conversations.
“If Thomas goes, you’ve got a lot of people around this process ready to support Thapar — and McConnell ready to move his favorite through,” said one of the outside Trump political advisers, referring to Judge Amul R. Thapar of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.