×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Trump Builds Suspense Over Supreme Court Pick, but Battlelines Are Already Drawn

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump once again kept Americans in suspense over his Supreme Court pick, promising a reality-show style big reveal at a White House event on Monday night.

All the major broadcast networks plan to break into regular programming to cover the announcement, giving the president the same primetime platform to build public support for his choice as he had for Neil Gorsuch, selected just 10 days after Trump took office.

Trump himself has indicated that his selection is down to four prospects: Brett Kavanaugh, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals; Amy Coney Barrett, a judge on the 7th Circuit; Raymond Kethledge, on the 6th Circuit; and Thomas Hardiman, on the 3rd Circuit.

“I have long heard that the most important decision a U.S. President can make is the selection of a Supreme Court Justice – Will be announced tonight at 9:00 P.M.,” Trump tweeted on Monday morning.

Trump kept his choice of Gorsuch under wraps until the last minute, save for just a few outlets that reported correctly on his pick. That day, a CNN news crew caught Hardiman at a Pennsylvania gas station, apparently en route to D.C., leading to speculation that he was the choice. After Gorsuch was announced, there was suspicion that Hardiman made the trip to serve as a kind of decoy.

Trump’s choice is widely expected to solidify the court’s conservative bloc, igniting a summer-long confirmation battle that will play out on the airwaves. Interest groups are already scheduling time for spots in support or against the choice.

Demand Justice said last week that it planned to spend $5 million on ads in opposition. The group already has created a web video warning of Trump’s pick, and is already running spots in Maine and Alaska focusing on Roe v. Wade. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) are potential swing votes in the coming Senate confirmation battle.

The conservative group Judicial Crisis Network said it already has purchased a seven-figure ad-buy to support Trump’s nominee, in a spot that warns that “extremists will lie and attack” the choice. The group’s Carrie Severino said they spent $10 million on the campaign for Gorsuch, and indicted they would be prepared to spend a similar amount if necessary to win the confirmation of the next justice.

A half-hour after Trump is scheduled to appear with his choice in an East Room ceremony, Demand Justice, MoveOn, Indivisible, and People for the American Way will gather at the Supreme Court for a rally in opposition.

Public interest groups have been combing the records of the candidates for any signs of their positions on LGBT rights, free speech, health care, and abortion — views that will certainly come up at confirmation hearings. Kavanaugh has the longest record, including a recent opinion where he weighed in on one of the raging debates over the internet, net neutrality.

He opposed the FCC’s decision in 2015 to impose a set of robust net neutrality rules on internet service providers, writing that it should be up to Congress. He also wrote, “Supreme Court precedent establishes that internet service providers have a First Amendment right to exercise editorial discretion over whether and how to carry internet content.”

The appeals court, though, upheld the net neutrality rules, but the Trump-era FCC has since repealed most of them. Still, Hardiman’s decision could be a factor if some kind of challenge eventually makes its way to the high court.

More Politics

  • Donald Trump

    Mueller's Office Disputes BuzzFeed's Bombshell Report on Trump

    WASHINGTON — Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s spokesman issued a rare statement disputing BuzzFeed’s report that President Donald Trump directed his then-attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this [...]

  • Nancy Pelosi Donald Trump

    Government Shutdown Turns Into a Battle for Attention in D.C.

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign blasted out a new promotion on Friday: Send a brick to either House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer by midnight. “Since Chuck and Nancy keep stonewalling the President, we’ll send the wall to them, brick by brick, until they agree to secure the border!” [...]

  • Women's March rallyWomen's March rally, New

    Celebrity Speakers Expected at Women's March, Despite Controversies

    Much of the media attention on this year’s Women’s March has focused on discord: Allegations that some of its leaders made anti-Semitic remarks, the association of one of its co-founders with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and the decision by a number of high profile politicians not to attend. While those controversies have overshadowed [...]

  • US President Donald J. Trump speaks

    Democrats Vow to Investigate Latest Trump Russia Bombshell

    WASHINGTON — Washington woke up on Friday to the prospect that the Russia investigation has gone to another level, with BuzzFeed‘s report that President Donald Trump instructed his then-personal attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. The article, citing two federal law enforcement sources, was one [...]

  • Donald Trump

    Trump Cancels Pelosi's Trip in Response to Her Call to Delay State of the Union

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump informed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that he was canceling an overseas trip she planned to take aboard a government aircraft this weekend, responding to a letter in which she suggested that they postpone the State of Union address until the shutdown ends. Pelosi was set to travel to Brussels, Egypt, [...]

  • Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

    Kirsten Gillibrand Kicks Off Her Campaign and Plans L.A. Visit Next Week

    WASHINGTON — Fresh off announcing on “Late Show With Stephen Colbert” that she is entering the 2020 presidential race, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has been taking the traditional next step in the process: Contacting potential donors. Sources said Gillibrand is planning a visit to Los Angeles on Jan. 22, next Tuesday, to meet with potential [...]

  • Nancy Pelosi Swearing In

    Nancy Pelosi Suggests to Trump That State of the Union Be Delayed

    WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is suggesting to President Donald Trump that his planned State of the Union address, scheduled for Jan. 29, be delayed or that it be delivered in writing. Pelosi cited the government shutdown and the fact that the two agencies tasked with security and planning, the Secret Service and the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content