STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

President Trump to announce Supreme Court pick Monday night

Trump’s pick will cement a 5-4 majority on the court for conservatives who could quite possibly dominate for a generation and, combined with his aggressive efforts to appoint judges to other federal courts across the country, ensure that the imprint of his contentious presidency will endure long after he has left office.

Posted: Jul 9, 2018 8:42 AM

When President Donald Trump unveils his second Supreme Court pick Monday night with the prime-time flourish of a reality show star, he will lay a momentous marker in modern political history.

“An exceptional person will be chosen!” Trump tweeted on Sunday, showing his glee at making a selection that will put him in the national spotlight he craves with a cherished win decades in the making for his Republican supporters.

Trump’s pick will cement a 5-4 majority on the court for conservatives who could quite possibly dominate for a generation and, combined with his aggressive efforts to appoint judges to other federal courts across the country, ensure that the imprint of his contentious presidency will endure long after he has left office.

In many ways, Trump’s pick will further empower the conservative backlash against progressive victories of the Obama era, on issues like gay rights, immigration and health care legislation that set a torch under his shock general election campaign. Some of those victories were made possible by the swing vote of Anthony Kennedy, whose retirement handed Trump a golden ideological opening.

Liberal horror and conservative delight about the implications of the pick have crystalized into a debate about the newly constituted court’s potential to overturn Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that upheld a legal right to an abortion.

Yet the focus on abortion fails to do justice to the sweeping changes that could be unleashed over time by a solidly conservative court.

The new justice could sway cases that define the role of religion in public life, determine the scope of gun rights, endorse a more restrictive interpretation of civil rights legislation and further loosen regulatory constraints on big business.

The new majority will essentially leave Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by President George W. Bush, as the only likely potential swing vote from the court’s right wing justices. That fact alone reflects just how conservative the jurisprudence of the nation’s highest bench is likely to be in the years to come.

“It’s an historic decision. It’s about more than the next election,” Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois on NBC’s “Meet the Press” said Sunday. “It’s about what country the United States of America is going to chart as its course in the future on this Supreme Court.”

Meet the contestants

Trump spent the weekend at his New Jersey golf resort mulling over his final decision, but said that he was down to four candidates who still had a chance of being invited to the White House for their national televised coming out party on Monday night.

The rollout will be modeled on the seamless presentation in January 2017 of the President’s first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, in what was undeniably one of his most successful and most well-managed moments as President.

He did not reveal his short list. but he is believed to be considering three men and one woman, all of whom have strong conservative credentials.

They include Judge Raymond Kethledge, 51, who sits on the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals, who would puncture the Ivy League aura that cloaks the Supreme Court since he studied law at the University of Michigan and not Harvard or Yale.

Trump is also believed to be studying Brett Kavanaugh, 53, of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and a Yale Law School graduate. Kavanaugh worked in the administration of each President Bush and also for independent counsel Kenneth Starr in the investigation that eventually led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

The President is also said to be intrigued by Amy Coney Barrett, 46, whom he nominated to the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals, was a Notre Dame law professor and clerked for the late Antonin Scalia — the gold standard for conservatives in a Supreme Court nominee.

Thomas Hardiman, 53, who sits on the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals, is also thought to be on Trump’s list. Hardiman, who drove a cab as he worked his way through college, was in the running for the seat that eventually went to Gorsuch.

Each of the candidates has a judicial paper trail and list of past comments that could concern Trump and that will be highlighted by Democrats in a confirmation hearing but also draw conservative support.

Kavanaugh’s time in Bush administrations, for example, could count against him with a President who is suspicious of the political establishment. Hardiman is seen by conservatives as having a strong record on the Second Amendment. Barrett has already crossed swords with Democrats in her Senate confirmation hearing for her current job, when California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said that religious “dogma” lived loudly in her. The New York Times reported Sunday that Trump found Kethledge a little dull and worried about his record on immigration. The President’s hardline policy approach means the issue could well end up before the court soon.

Senate Republicans prepare for battle

Still, for conservative activists, such distinctions between the potential nominees are quibbles.

Given GOP control of the Senate and the chamber’s Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s abolition of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations during the Gorsuch confirmation saga, any of the four is expected to have a strong chance of confirmation.

Democrats have little leverage as they try to halt the nomination — though the court’s rightward lurch could stoke liberal turnout in the midterm elections in which the House of Representatives is in play. Perhaps it will fire up Democrats to embark on the decades-long quest to remake the ideological balance of the court that the GOP has used to enthuse its grassroots voters and that Trump harnessed in 2016.

For now, Democrats are piling pressure on Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who has expressed disquiet about the nomination of a judge who might overturn Roe v. Wade. Alaska GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski is in the spotlight for similar reasons.

But both senators voted to confirm Gorsuch, who would be expected by conservative activists to vote to return decisions about abortions to the states.

And Democrats cannot even be sure of holding their line against Trump’s pick.

Several senators in states where Trump won big in 2016, like Jon Tester in Montana, Joe Donnelly in Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota and Joe Manchin in West Virginia, are caught between the party’s riled up liberal base and their own socially conservative voters.

One Democrat from a red state, Alabama’s Doug Jones, told CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that he did not rule out voting for Trump’s nominee.

“I’m open to voting yes. I’m open to voting no. We don’t know who this nominee is going to be yet. I don’t think my role is a rubber stamp for the President, but it’s also not an automatic, knee-jerk no either,” Jones said.

A boon for Trump

While Democrats are flailing, Trump can hardly lose.

It is not exaggeration to say that the prospect of tipping the balance of the Supreme Court was the reason why evangelical conservative voters, who had plenty of reason to worry about Trump’s character, decided to stick with him during the 2016 election campaign.

Recent developments underline the shrewdness of Trump’s campaign team, which published a list of potential court nominees with stellar conservative credentials before he faced off against Hillary Clinton.

“Remember, the President ran on the Supreme Court issue and that greatly enthused voters,” Leonard Leo, who is currently on leave from the Federalist Society, where he helped craft Trump’s list of candidates, said on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday.

By installing Gorsuch and another, similar candidate on the court, Trump can tell conservative voters that he kept his promises and give them a reason to solidify his electoral coalition.

In a wider sense, his nominee will also represent a triumph for conservatism and the organized effort to promote vetted conservative judges that offered McConnell a pipeline of candidates for lower courts and now is reaching the ultimate prize — a solid Supreme Court majority.

It also underlines that the decision by McConnell to refuse to confirm President Barack Obama’s pick for the court, Judge Merrick Garland, before the 2016 election, that could have led to a liberal majority, as one of the most far-reaching gambits in recent political history.

Terre Haute
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 44°
Robinson
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 45°
Indianapolis
Scattered Clouds
44° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 44°
Rockville
Scattered Clouds
40° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 40°
Casey
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 45°
Brazil
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 44°
Marshall
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 44°
Gradually clearing clouds, cold night.
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

All You Need to Know for Monday

Image

Holiday traditions underway in downtown Terre Haute, what to expect this year with COVID-19 concerns

Image

Monday: Mostly sunny and chilly High: 48°

Image

Sunday Evening Forecast

Image

Christmas at the Zoo

Image

Wind Chill explainer

Image

Operation Christmas Child packing

Image

Jeep Junkies collect Toys for Tots

Image

Wrapping paper alternatives to protect the environment

Image

New restaurant opens in Vigo County

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 656298

Reported Deaths: 12050
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook2808966303
DuPage41006746
Will34965530
Lake34159602
Kane29240443
Winnebago17303246
McHenry13008147
Madison12865217
St. Clair11915253
Champaign1006847
Sangamon911189
Peoria8113117
Rock Island7905120
Kankakee775396
McLean763049
Macon5950115
Tazewell584089
Kendall564641
LaSalle5548119
DeKalb456745
Adams434846
Boone353230
Vermilion341043
Whiteside340495
Williamson321877
Coles307157
Clinton294356
Ogle256725
Knox253456
Jackson244034
Effingham243317
Grundy242611
Henry233112
Stephenson226529
Marion221741
Randolph203123
Livingston200519
Morgan198333
Bureau191535
Macoupin189517
Franklin185622
Monroe179744
Christian173138
Lee168022
Jefferson167358
Woodford152526
Iroquois148624
McDonough148037
Logan144212
Fayette141128
Douglas124216
Fulton123710
Shelby119924
Union110926
Jersey110523
Montgomery104319
Saline102922
Crawford10049
Jo Daviess98916
Carroll97824
Warren97317
Perry94419
Pike93720
Bond91310
Hancock88310
Cass87119
Lawrence8559
Moultrie81310
Wayne81232
Greene75426
Clay73817
Clark70219
Piatt6995
Edgar68815
Mercer6659
Ford65821
Johnson6533
Richland64319
Mason62116
Washington5902
Jasper58111
De Witt57013
Cumberland56113
White5298
Massac4672
Wabash4608
Menard4111
Pulaski3752
Hamilton3573
Marshall3405
Unassigned3240
Brown2753
Henderson2540
Alexander2422
Schuyler2301
Putnam2240
Calhoun2150
Scott2110
Stark2043
Edwards2033
Gallatin1773
Hardin1200
Pope741
Out of IL100

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 295357

Reported Deaths: 5305
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion40796844
Lake25864448
Allen17025289
Elkhart16389209
St. Joseph16125217
Hamilton12225163
Vanderburgh9218112
Tippecanoe807627
Porter770176
Johnson5971161
Hendricks5719154
Vigo563274
Monroe519846
Clark486774
Delaware4721103
Madison4651119
Kosciusko437339
LaPorte436792
Howard321375
Warrick309072
Floyd301177
Bartholomew296262
Wayne292261
Cass291231
Marshall283642
Grant254147
Noble244246
Hancock238949
Henry234136
Boone231754
Dubois229230
Dearborn204629
Jackson200033
Morgan196043
Gibson171622
Knox170715
Clinton170420
Shelby170453
Lawrence169246
DeKalb168428
Adams160019
Miami150414
Daviess149143
Wabash148118
Fayette141233
Steuben139713
LaGrange135127
Jasper134911
Harrison134624
Montgomery127926
Whitley127410
Ripley121414
Decatur119842
Posey116613
Putnam115626
Wells115427
Huntington115210
White115221
Randolph114619
Clay111821
Jefferson110314
Scott97918
Greene97553
Jay93012
Starke87021
Sullivan85515
Perry80521
Spencer7957
Jennings79114
Fulton78717
Fountain7257
Washington6966
Carroll65313
Orange64828
Franklin63525
Owen5676
Vermillion5662
Newton53412
Parke5296
Tipton52826
Blackford50011
Rush5006
Pike49618
Pulaski36410
Martin3425
Brown3153
Benton3101
Crawford2711
Union2551
Switzerland2453
Warren2272
Ohio2227
Unassigned0265