Judge Hardiman was also, along with Judge Kethledge, one of the two finalists Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, recently recommended to Mr. Trump and the White House, Donald F. McGahn II, arguing that they represented the least risk of a confirmation error
Mr. McConnell saw disadvantages in the others. Judge Kavanaugh once argued that President Bill Clinton could be prosecuted for lying to his staff and misleading the public, a broad definition of the obstruction of justice that would harm Mr Trump when applied to the Special Adviser's investigation in Russia would. And Judge Kavanaugh was viewed with suspicion by Conservatives, who did not dare to associate with President George W. Bush, for whom he served as a staff secretary.
Judge Barrett, a former judicial officer for Justice Anton Scalia, was backed by conservative Christian leaders, but McConnell fears that it might provoke the defection of two Republican moderates in the Senate. (During her confirmation hearings last September for a court of appeal, she told senators that her religious beliefs would not affect her court decisions.)
Mr. Trump told reporters late Sunday afternoon that he was still thinking about all four finalists and that he would make his decision by noon Monday afternoon.
"Everyone, you can not go wrong," he said.
The Democrats want to argue, but they can not.
The Democrats made it clear over the weekend that the bar is high for their votes. But they have realized how difficult it would be to stop a candidate who unanimously supports the Senate Republicans.
Senator Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, admitted on Sunday that the democratic opposition could be useless. Even if all 49 members of her caucus were united in the opposition, she would still need at least one Republican to join them in order to block the nomination.
"It's going to be very difficult," Mr. Coons said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "If all Republicans stick together with the vice president, they'll be able to confirm whoever nominates President Trump."
Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Senate No. 2, said on Sunday that Mr. Trump's candidate would most likely be in the guise of Justice Gorsuch, who unanimously received Republican support in his confirmation vote and Mr. Durbin said he had chosen. in lock step on the Republican conservative side. "
"They want to fill this position to give them an edge in future decisions," said Mr. Durbin on NBC's Meet the Press.
Senator Chuck Schumer, leader of the Democrats, wrote in a Times Op-Ed last week that if Mr. Trump's first candidate failed, it would be prudent to choose a more moderate candidate. In a telephone conversation with Mr. Trump, Mr. Schumer even had the idea to nominate Judge Merrick B. Garland, President Barack Obama's failed candidate in 2016.
The nomination vote will be difficult for Senate Democrats in the Red States, which are scheduled for re-election in November, including Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia. A decision by one or all of them to strengthen their reputation with Republicans would undermine Democratic leaders.
The Democrats fear that Mr Trump's candidate for the lifting of Roe v. Wade, the decision of the Supreme Court of 1973, which justified the constitutional right to an abortion, could prefer. Here's what each of the four finalists had to say on the subject.
Will the candidate arrive secretly? Will the runner-up be a decoy?
While Obama decided to announce his nominations for the Supreme Court for a conventional ceremony, Mr. Trump prefers the main spectacle. Last year's nomination of Justice Gorsuch was framed as a reality-viewing cliffhanger: who would that be? Were both Finalists in the White House behind the scenes? Would Mr. Trump change his mind at the last minute?
Dozens of lawmakers, family members, and adjutants gathered in the East Room of the White House, where Mr. Trump made an entrance to the red carpet, then delivered a two-minute preface that prolonged the mystery. When he revealed his selection, Mr. Gorsuch and his wife entered the room in standing ovation.
"So, was that a surprise?" Mr. Trump asked the crowd with a grin. "Was it?"
In addition to the tension, a camera crew had discovered Judge Hardiman in Pennsylvania just hours before Mr. Trump announced his election. Judge Hardiman claimed he had just visited someone in Altoona, a city in Pennsylvania, about 100 miles east of Pittsburgh, where Judge Hardiman runs his chambers. But White House staff hinted it was part of a plan to distract the news media.
Mr. Trump seemed to rely on this kind of speculation to reinforce the drama of the television election. The word of the plectrum only leaked selectively in the hours leading up to the event, which meant that many of those who established themselves first learned of Mr. Gorsuch's nomination when Mr. Trump read his name.
After hearing the good news from Mr. Trump, Judge Gorsuch traveled with a military jet from an airport in Colorado to Joint Base Andrews. On the day of the announcement, he was smuggled into the White House, where the helpers in the Lincoln Bedroom kept him waiting for Mr. Trump.
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