WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has narrowed his choice to fill the Supreme Court vacancy to three judges and said he expects to make his decision in the coming days.
A person familiar with the selection process said the three judges, all white men who sit on federal appeals courts, were on the list of 21 potential high court picks Trump announced during the presidential campaign.
The leading contenders — who all have met with Trump — are William Pryor, Neil Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman, the person said, speaking anonymously because he was not authorized to speak publicly about internal decisions.
Pryor, 54, is an Alabama-based judge on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Gorsuch, 49, is on the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Hardiman, 51, is based in Pittsburgh for the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. All three were nominated by President George W. Bush for their current posts.
Trump has promised to seek someone in the mold of conservative icon Antonin Scalia, who died nearly a year ago after serving on the Supreme Court for more than 29 years. Senate Republicans prevented President Barack Obama from filling the seat, a political gamble that paid off when Trump was elected.
Trump met Tuesday with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Dianne Feinstein to discuss the court vacancy. Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a statement that the meeting was productive and “a step in the right direction.” Schumer, D-N.Y., said he told Trump “that Senate Democrats would fight any nominee that was outside of the mainstream.”
Trump said he plans to announce his choice next week.